When the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Rodney Hood at last season’s trade deadline, he was expected to be a big-time acquisition. The lengthy shooting guard was supposed to bring versatility, shooting, and an ability to create his own shot to a team looking for additional help alongside LeBron James.
To put it politely, it was anything but that for much of Hood’s first couple months donning the wine and gold. A restricted free agent this offseason, he was expected to get a semi-decent, three- or four-year deal, but given his struggles with the Cavs, what he was hoping to get was far more than what teams were willing to give him. Given that, Hood has decided to return to the Cavs, informing the Cavs that he will sign his $3.4 million qualifying offer, according to cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
Considering he was seeking a contract that would pay him around $10-12 million per season for multiple years, it’s quite a bargain for the Cavs. Cleveland explored multiple sign-and-trade options that would allow Hood to get that money but could not find a suitor, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
After being an average scorer with the Utah Jazz during his first 3.5 seasons in the league, the 6-foot-8, 206-pound guard averaged just 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 25.3 minutes per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc in 21 regular season games (11 starts).
In the postseason he was even worse. He averaged just 5.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists while shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and a dismal 16.7 percent from three-point range in 15.3 minutes a night. His plus-minus of minus-93 in 260 minutes throughout the playoffs was the worst of any player in the postseason. Whether it was his inconsistency or the fact that his postseason included six DNP-CDs, it was obvious that the Cavs didn’t trust him when it mattered most.
He played so poorly that head coach Tyronn Lue was forced to take him out of the rotation until the final two games of the Finals when the Cavs were just searching for someone other than No. 23 to be a consistent scorer. With those struggles, Hood lost millions of dollars this offseason, but it also allowed the Cavs to sign him for a very cheap, team-friendly deal.
With a new-look basketball team in Cleveland, Hood is expected to improve on his dismal first season with the Cavs. Without the pressure of playing alongside James, something that supposedly got to Hood and made him play poorly, the guard is expected to have a bounce-back season.
Without James, there are far more opportunities to produce offensively for the Cavs. Hood will likely be one of the many players who will take advantage of that, especially since he is now betting on himself and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. He didn’t get the money he wanted this offseason, but with a solid season in 2018-19, the 25-year-old could potentially get the deal he was seeking this offseason next summer.
Looking ahead, with the Cavs having Hood’s full Bird rights at season’s end, the wine and gold will be able to pay him more than any other team in the league, if it comes down to that.