Veteran guard/forward Rodney Hood is reportedly looking to explore his options on the open market after an injury-plagued 18-month run with the Portland Trail Blazers. According to a report by ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, the six-year pro has elected to decline the second-year option on his deal in order to become an unrestricted free agent.
Hood had previously signed a two-year, $11.7 million dollar contract with Portland ahead of the 2019-20 season, per salary figures from Spotrac.
Although he played a key role for the Trail Blazers after the team acquired him via trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers midway through the 2018-19 campaign, his future with the franchise became cloudy when he suffered a torn left Achilles tendon early in 2019-20. The injury had come at an inopportune time for player and team alike as Hood had started in all 21 of his appearances for the club to that point and was enjoying a resurgent year.
As tracked by NBA.com, he was averaging 11 points and just over three rebounds per game at the time. Moreover, he was burning the nets with career-best efficacy, connecting on better than 50 percent of his field-goal attempts while shooting 49 percent from three-point range. When Hood was on the floor last season, Portland’s offense soared to the tune of 112.3 points per 100 possessions.
While the league’s extended layoff earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic likely benefited Hood in terms of his readiness for next season, the serious nature of his injury has caused a level of uncertainty about what he’ll be able to offer upon his return to the court.
That reality may have played a part in some of the Trail Blazers’ recent dealings. As noted by ESPN, the team is reportedly close to finalizing a trade with the Houston Rockets for Robert Covington, another wing player who has shown at times that he can be a deep threat as well as one of the league’s better defenders. In turn, Covington’s arrival may have been a consideration in Hood’s final-year opt-out.
In any case, with nearly a year passed since Hood injured his knee, he could be ready to play when the NBA returns next month.
After an impressive end to his collegiate career with the Duke Blue Devils in 2014, the Meridian, Mississipi, native was selected by the Utah Jazz with a late first-round pick that summer. He went on to spend parts of four seasons with the Jazz, during which he showed steady improvement as a player. However, he lost his starting spot to rookie standout Donovan Mitchell in 2017-18 and was later dealt to the Cavaliers.
As reported by The Inquisitr, one outlet recently mused about the Blazers potentially trading franchise cornerstone Damian Lillard to the Miami Heat.