Free Rodney Hood
Rodney Hood deserves better than to waste away on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Illustration by Elliot Gerard
The below has been excerpted from this week's Outlet Pass, to get caught up on everything else you need to know in the NBA this week read the rest of the column here.
Rodney Hood is too good for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He doesn’t fit into their short-term goals (i.e. only six teams have a better offense when Hood is on the floor; when he sits only the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks are worse) and, as a 26-year-old unrestricted free agent this offseason, won’t be onboard the next time they make the playoffs.
His pick-and-roll game is crafty yet stable—Hood hardly ever turns the ball over—and whenever he curls off a screen and draws two defenders the result is usually a simple pass to the open man. Coming off an awkward postseason run that didn’t go as well as he hoped, in the interest of boosting his monetary worth, Hood belongs on a good team, surrounded by good players. (Thanks to his current one-year deal, he can veto any trade the Cavs involve him in, though it behooves him to accept whatever happens.)
The Rockets—a pseudo-contender forever hungry for three-point shooters, iso-creativity, and adjustable defenders—are an obvious suitor. After Hood is eligible to be dealt on December 15th, would Houston attach a protected first-round pick to Marquese Chriss? A Harden, Paul, Hood, Gordon, Tucker lineup would give the Rockets five able three-point threats without sacrificing their switch-everything defensive system—Capela can exist in this group, too—and if the Golden State Warriors are still the only team on their mind, we already know that Hood can be a difference-maker in isolation on the biggest stage.
The fit isn’t perfect: Hood adores the mid-range and has already shot more long twos than the entire Rockets roster this season. He’s isn’t shy about lowering his shoulder into a defender, but still rarely gets to the rim. But in theory, Hood is skilled enough to give them a boost on both ends at an outrageously low cost.
If not Houston, Hood can upgrade just about any situation outside the one he’s currently in. (Would the Philadelphia 76ers part ways with Markelle Fultz for Hood?)