Before the February trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Rodney Hood with the hope that he could strengthen their chance of reclaiming the NBA championship title this season. The Cavaliers expected Hood to be a solid three-and-D player, but as of now, he struggled to make himself fit in LeBron James’ team.
In the Cavaliers’ blowout win against the Toronto Raptors, Rodney Hood was the only guy who didn’t play. Jason Lloyd of The Athletic (h/t Bleacher Report) revealed that Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue tried to substitute Hood for LeBron James with seven minutes and 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter. However, Hood refused to enter the game which reportedly angered some of his teammates.
“This is the playoffs,” an anonymous Cleveland player said. “We’re trying to win a championship. This isn’t about you.”
As of now, it remains unknown why Rodney Hood decided not to play in Game 4. But there is a possibility that he is frustrated with his lack of playing time in the Cavaliers’ Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Raptors. In the second round, Lue decided to use Cedi Osman more than Hood. Lue’s decision could be based on Hood’s performance in the first-round where he only averaged 6.3 points on 46.2 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Some of his teammates may have thought that Rodney Hood is only thinking about himself and not what is good for the team. The reason why Lue tried to use him in the final minutes of Game 4 is not just to rest LeBron James but to help him find his rhythm and build a good chemistry with his teammates. The Cavaliers will be needing all the help they could get in order to fully dominate the Eastern Conference and beat the team that will represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman reportedly plans to meet Hood to give him the opportunity to explain himself. If the Cavaliers don’t receive an acceptable reason for his refusal to play, there is a strong chance that Hood could earn a suspension. Hood’s recent action may also affect his chance of returning to the Cavaliers next season as the team could just let him walk away as a restricted free agent and look for a better replacement in the upcoming offseason.