Given the apparent lack of interest in Cleveland Cavaliers restricted free agent Rodney Hood, it seems more and more likely that the fifth-year player will return to play for the Cavs for the upcoming season. If that turns out to be the case, one close observer feels that the team will be a beneficiary during the 2018-19 campaign.
That observer is the team’s former general manager David Griffin, who appeared on Cleveland.com’s Wine and Gold Talk Podcast. During an extended conversation on a number of different topics, Griffin spoke about how the reduced expectations for the Cavaliers for the 2018-19 season can work to both Hood’s and the team’s advantage.
“Cavs fans are going to see the best of Rodney Hood,” said Griffin, “because he’s capable of being what they need him to be within that framework of expectation.”
The 25-year-old Hood arrived last season from the Utah Jazz in a trade deadline deal, but struggled with both injuries and inconsistency during his time on the court with the Cavs. A postseason controversy that questioned his maturity took him out of head coach Tyronn Lue‘s rotation, with some wondering if the Cavaliers would even make the effort to retain his services.
Griffin spoke about Hood’s maturity level and how that might end up determining how well he and the team as a whole perform this year. Last season, he wasn’t prepared for the high-pressure atmosphere surrounding the team, which was seeking to make its fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals.
“I think this thing about Rodney [Hood] with this Cavs team is that emotionally, the expectations are going to be more in line with what his maturity as a player will allow him to do,” said Griffin.
Gaining more confidence in the year ahead is another way Hood can have a greater impact with the Cavs, considering those expectations for the team have been dialed back considerably. Instead of striving to win a league title, a revamped Cleveland team is now looking to build for the future.
“He’s uber-talented; but when it’s put-up or shut up and the only thing that’s going to mark success is winning a championship, he doesn’t have that level of confidence yet,” said Griffin. “But I think this Cavs team is going to let him find that; in much the same way that he was so good with Utah, members of his coaching staff told members of our coaching staff the year before I left (2017), he was more important to them than Gordon Hayward.”
The Cavaliers maintained restricted free agent rights on Hood by giving him a one-year, $3.5 million qualifying offer. If he eventually signs an offer sheet with another team, the Cavaliers have the opportunity to simply match in order to retain his services. However, that hasn’t happened yet.