The Rodney Hood experience has been a bit of a mystery for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
When he was traded to the team, it seemed like he was well positioned to be the team’s second leading scorer. Kevin Love was out with an injury, and the team needed a second ball handler to help initiate the offense.
But for one reason or another, that seemingly good fit never worked out. Hood played primarily off ball, and struggled with injuries and consistency. Then when it was time for a new contract, Hood and the team were unable to agree upon a long-term deal.
But despite taking the qualifying offer, Hood’s intention is still to remain in Cleveland long-term.
Hood addressed his plans to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
I believe strongly in myself that after this year I’ll be able to make Cleveland my home and we’ll get a better deal next summer.
This is the first time we’ve really heard Hood make a commitment to the franchise since joining the team. The lack of information or news throughout his free agency process made his feelings towards the team unclear at best.
There’s no denying that Hood cost himself a lot of money with his play after the trade deadline. He was productive early on, but never truly found a rhythm with the team and failed to bounce back from his injuries.
When you combine that with his bizarre playoffs, it’s no wonder why the team was hesitant to pay him what he felt he deserved.
There has been discussion throughout Hood’s career about him struggling with anxiety issues. Even dating as far back as his time at Duke. It’s possible that having Kevin Love for support could help assist Hood in his struggles. Especially now that he’s seen the Cavs are willing to commit to long-term to a player that suffers from anxiety.
In the interview, Hood opened up about his thought process during his struggles:
“It was a lot of stuff going on where I just couldn’t really focus, until the time where I really wasn’t playing,” Hood said. “And then I was able to lock in and get to myself.
”At first I kind of felt bad for myself, but then it was like I don’t want to feel this feeling again, sitting on the bench, or playing 8-10 minutes a game,” he continued. “I want to be a big part of a really good team, so that was my focus this whole summer.”
It’s a delicate balance and one without a simple answer. But it’s possible that the Cavs are the right team at the right time to help Hood get back on track. In a vacuum, he’s easily the most talented shooting guard on the team. With a clearly defined role and the right support structures, there’s no reason he can’t regain his form from his time in Utah.
The Cavs simply aren’t in a position where they can let a talent like Hood walk for nothing. He has apparently added weight and is coming into this season motivated to bounce back from last season. If both sides can find success together, you can see the beginnings of a fun young team alongside Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, and Larry Nance Jr.