It was reported on Monday that the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been rebuilding after the departure of LeBron James, traded forward Rodney Hood to the Portland Trail Blazers. This move is perhaps an unspoken step toward cementing themselves as the frontrunner for the #1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Cleveland has been collecting draft picks wherever they can get them while also not making winning a priority. They will likely continue this trend into the future. The Cavs received the expiring contracts of Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin, along with second round picks in 2021 and 2023.
Hood has been one of the better players on Cleveland’s roster, averaging 12.2 points per game and playing just over 27 minutes per game. He also hit a go-ahead jumper in the final 30 seconds of a game against the Knicks this season.
The Blazers are a dark-horse contender in the West at 32-20. Hood will be a productive scorer off of the bench and will at least be passable on defense, as he averages just under a steal per game. At 26, Hood is also a fairly experienced NBA player, so he may be someone that the Blazers look to near the end of a game when they need a clutch basket.
If they are planning on winning playoff games, that scenario is a real possibility, and it is not always the superstars that make those shots (look at Steve Kerr and Robert Horry).
Potential Future Moves
While there are no specific team names floating around for a potential deal, there has been interest from teams regarding guard Alec Burks. Burks has been averaging 11.4 points per game for Cleveland and has started the majority of their games.
Burks could be an interest for teams that are in the middle of the pack in their divisions, like the Pacers or the Spurs. The Cavs will likely receive expiring contracts and a draft pick or two in the deal.
Sports bettors won’t change their attitude towards Cleveland because of this deal, but it might make the Blazers an interesting play against, well, anybody.