- The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a sweep of the top-seeded Toronto Raptors on Monday night thanks to an impressive performance from the team’s role players.
- One role player that wasn’t seen on the court was Rodney Hood, who reportedly refused to enter the game with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers holding a healthy lead.
- With Hood set to become a restricted free agent this summer, it’s easy to imagine why he might be frustrated with his diminished role in the Cavaliers system, but he has since apologised for his actions.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are rolling, having swept the top-seeded Toronto Raptors in four games to earn some well-deserved rest before the Eastern Conference Finals.
During Monday’s Game 4 against the Raptors, the Cavaliers role-players finally stepped up, giving LeBron James a bit of relief from his Atlas-like duties of carrying the franchise on his shoulders.
But one of the Cavaliers’ potential role players was conspicuously absent from the game. As reported by Jason Lloyd at The Athletic, Cavaliers swingman Rodney Hood refused to enter the game in the fourth quarter, despite pleas for him to do so from his coach and some veteran teammates. Per 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.”
Since then, Hood has reportedly apologised to general manager Koby Altman for his refusal and plans on apologizing to the rest of the team once they’re reunited. The Cavaliers will reportedly not fine or suspend Hood for his actions.
It’s an odd scene to watch play out at this point in the postseason, but it’s also easy to see why Hood has been frustrated with his role on the Cavaliers of late. Hood joined the team in February as a part of the Cavaliers massive shake-up just before the trade deadline. He hasn’t especially clicked within the Cavaliers system and has seen his role dwindle even further as the playoffs rolled on.
Thus far this postseason Hood has averaged just 4.6 points per game and is shooting only 13% from beyond the arc, and throughout the Cavaliers series against the Raptors had continued to lose minutes in the rotation in favour of rookie Cedi Osman.
The biggest reason for Hood’s frustration is that he’s set to become a restricted free agent this summer, and his short time in Cleveland has already likely tanked much of his potential value on the market. It’s not a stretch to think that Hood didn’t want to be seen as an end-of-game minutes-eater when he’s hoping to grow his value to potential suitors.
But with an apology to the team forthcoming and the Cavaliers seemingly uninterested in punishing Hood with a suspension or fine, it’s possible that the team could put this all behind them in short order.
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