Rodney Hood did not play during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 4 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night. But he apparently could have—in garbage time, at least. He just didn’t want to.
From The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd:
When the Cavs called a timeout with a 30-point lead and 7:38 left Monday, Lue tried inserting Hood for James. It was a great opportunity for a struggling youngster to try to find his rhythm without any pressure before the next series. Instead, Hood refused to go in, multiple sources confirmed. A number of veterans huddled around him during the timeout and tried talking sense into him, but Hood still refused to go, so Jose Calderon subbed into the game instead. Hood dressed quickly and was one of the first players out of the locker room after the game.
Well, that’s not what you want to see if you’re the Cavaliers. At the same time, they have decided not to discipline him for his late-game refusal, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin. He apparently feels terrible about the whole situation.
Sure, Hood has not enjoyed a good postseason. He totaled just 39 minutes through the entire semi-finals and has struggled to carve out a consistent role in the offense and rotation in general. Considering he was the trade-deadline acquisition who was supposed to most help the Cavaliers with additional shot creation, this comes as a pretty large disappointment.
Stir in the fact that Hood will be a restricted free agent this summer, and things could get messy. The assumption has been the Cavaliers will pay him if LeBron James returns. But now, if Hood is playing poorly, and reacting even worse to that marginalization, the team has to wonder whether it’s worth keeping him at all.
Of course, the Cavaliers have a lot of basketball left to play. And Hood, as a 6’8″ wing, could prove uniquely valuable in an Eastern Conference Finals clash with Boston Celtics, who are loaded with like-sized switchables. He should have a chance to redeem himself, and to feel more involved, before the postseason is out.