The Trail Blazers made a trade Sunday, certainly not a major deal but one that keeps alive -- or even enhances -- their ability to make another, bigger trade prior to Thursday’s noon (Pacific time) deadline.
Portland acquired wing Rodney Hood from Cleveland in exchange for guards Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin and a pair of second-round draft choices.
Hood, a 6-8 left-hander out of Duke, has averaged 12.8 points per game while shooting 36.8 percent from three-point range in his career. The 26-year-old played his first four seasons in Utah before being dealt to Cleveland.
He has been a sought-after guard/forward at the deadline and provides depth for the Trail Blazers at wing, a position that could be considered the team’s weakest.
And a few things should be pointed out: The 2-for-1 deal leaves an open roster spot for Portland, allowing the acquisition of a player being waived or bought out of a contract. And it was made without surrendering the team’s main trade assets – a quality rotation player or a first-round pick. And as far as those second-round picks? If the Blazers want one, they’ve always just traded for or bought one.
Portland Coach Terry Stotts would make no comment on the deal, apparently waiting for the trade to be confirmed by the league office.
But his players had something to say.
“I don’t like that he went to Duke,” CJ McCollum joked. “But besides that, I think he can play. He’s a solid player. He’s a big guard, good mid-range, pretty good pick-and-roll.
“I know he’s in a contract year, so he’ll be eager to get out there and play well.”
Damian Lillard said, “I love him as a player. I respect him. I remember when he was in Utah, he was breaking into the rotation and he always came in and gave them a spark. He’s a good-sized wing who can score the ball, shoot the ball, solid defender – it will be interesting to see how he will fit in with us."
Hood is in the final season of his contract but did sign a one-year qualifying offer with Cleveland, which meant he had to agree to the trade to Portland.
“He made the playoffs with Cleveland last year, he’ll make a nice addition,” McCollum added.
Of course the playoffs didn’t turn out to be a bright spot in Hood’s career. He started the team’s first playoff game but was relegated to bench duty after that. He refused to go into a game during garbage time at the end of Game 4 of the Cavs’ series against Boston, for which he later apologized.