The NBA offseason is in full swing. Trades can be made, free agency is looming and the NBA Draft is Wednesday.
This is also a period when players can opt in and out of their options.
On Monday, Trail Blazers wing Mario Hezonja reportedly exercised his 1.98 million option for the 2020-21 season.
Now, Blazers veteran wing Rodney Hood, who is the only other Blazers who has a player option, has reportedly declined his player option and will become a free agent.
The 28-year-old wing was ruled out for the remainder of the 2019-20 season on December 6, 2019 following a torn left Achilles injury that he suffered during a 136–113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
In his shortened season and limited time on the floor, Hood still proved that he has a lot to offer on both ends of the floor.
It is definitely worth noting that just because a player declines an option that he won’t remain with that team. It really could just mean that a new contract, meaning more money, could be agreed upon and that player could stay with the team that he had opted out of previously.
Hood has said many times since arriving in Portland in Feb. of 2019 after being traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers that he has found a home in Portland.
In the midst of his rehab process in back April, Hood was asked during a Zoom media conference if he’s going to be accepting his playing option for next season. Hood mentioned he wanted to stay with Portland this upcoming season and beyond.
“No, I haven’t decided yet, but the one thing I do know is that I will be in a Portland Trail Blazers uniform next year. As far as the contract is concerned, it will work itself out when the time comes, but I fully expect to be in a Portland Trail Blazer uniform next year.”
“From what I understand, unless things have changed, I want to be here and people want me to be here,” Hood added. “When I signed back last year, it would be for me to sign back with Portland, long term. That’s what I plan on doing.”
Hood was expected to be paid $6.3 million by the Trail Blazers next season.
Hood holds averages or 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game in his career.
While Portland is strapped for money and really has no cap space right now, the Blazers do, however, have the non-taxpayer Mid-Level Exception. The MLE is said to be worth about $9.3 million and thus, the Blazers could use that to make sure Hood stays put in Portland. The Blazers also hold a Bi-Annual Exception for free agency, which is around $3.6 million.
Something else to keep in mind, Hassan Whiteside, Carmelo Anthony and Caleb Swanigan are all unrestricted free agents. The Trail Blazers will have the right to match offers on Wenyen Gabriel, who is a restricted free agent.
So, while Hood has opted out, the door remains open for him to return. How the Robert Covington deal factors into the decision remains to be seen.