The Trail Blazers got into the action by executing a trade for Cavaliers forward Rodney Hood on Sunday. Hood, a gifted forward out of Duke, will get a chance to get back on track after a forgettable stint in Cleveland. In exchange for Hood, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey shipped Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin IV, and a pair of second-round picks to the Cavaliers.
Along with adding Hood, the Blazers slightly increased their luxury tax bill and created an open roster spot. After evaluating the trade, we asked four Blazer’s Edge contributors to grade the trade.
Dan Marang (@DMarang): POBONO strikes again! It’s another move on the periphery that doesn’t cost much but has an outside chance of making Portland a better team. Nik Stauskas showed he could shoot, that much is clear, but he also showed he continues to be a liability defensively and quickly found his way out of the rotation. Wade Baldwin made enough noise at Summer League to get a guaranteed contract — good for him. Rodney Hood however, isn’t impacted by the departure of those guys because neither was getting rotation minutes. In fact, Hood now figures the be thrust into the biggest minutes dispute of the roster: Maurice Harkless v. Jake Layman.
It’s hard to believe that Portland is done dealing. Not that they have an embarrassment of riches at the wing now, it’s just that they have perhaps too many bodies there with undefined roles. Harkless lands on the defensive side of the spectrum with his offense lagging behind, Layman clearly lands on the offensive side with his defense falling to the side. Meanwhile, you’ve got Hood, who probably splits the difference best, but all three leave something to be desired as far as consistency goes. So, it’s another deal on the edges with a chance to make a splash. But the impact is probably limited. Bonus points for making a move that MIGHT free up enough space in the rotation to make someone like Harkless (and his +10M salary) expendable. The move before the move...maybe. GRADE: B-
Brian Freeman (@BrianFreeman24) : Rodney Hood is only a year removed from averaging 16 points per game for the Jazz on 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He’s not a great defender, but he is lengthy and brings some needed size to the perimeter. Hood can play either wing position. He can shoot, pass, and drive better than Portland’s current small forward options. Given those advantages, he should walk into the locker room as the Blazers’ new starting small forward. Unfortunately, that is not a very high bar. Harkless and Layman have both had their moments, but both forwards rate relatively low in the NBA’s starting small forward hierarchy. Hood is an upgrade, but he isn't much higher on that list.
End of the day, Portland needed an upgrade and they got it. I was sure that the Blazers were going to set on cap-saving moves at the deadline. Given this basketball-related move, I am nearly euphoric over the move. For two second-round picks and two players that are not part of the rotation, it was a low-cost upgrade. The open roster spot could turn out to be an added benefit of the deal. This grade could increase depending on a corresponding move. For now, it’s a minor upgrade, but a one that needed to be made. Grade: B
Steve Dewald (@SteveDHoops): Replacing Nik Stauskas with a serviceable player on the perimeter is huge. Stauskas, who joined Seth Curry as the Blazers’ premier summer additions, has fallen out completely out of the rotation. He crossed the 10-minute threshold just three times in January, which likely paved the way for this move.
Hood’s exile to the Cavaliers probably has many fans wondering who exactly he is. Prior to moving to Cleveland, it appeared that Hood was primed for a lucrative extension with Utah. He was an awkward fit next to LeBron James down the stretch of last season and he was just another face on a listless Cavaliers squad this season. On offense, Hood has shown he can hit open shots and make decent decisions off the dribble. Both of those traits will be welcomed in Portland.
Along with adding Hood, the Blazers created another roster spot and only slightly increased their luxury tax bill. On its own, this is a favorable trade for Portland. If Olshey can land another impact player, this trade will only look better. Grade: B+
Isaiah De Los Santos (@IsaiahDeLos): THEY MADE A TRADE. THEY ACTUALLY MADE A TRADE. Whew. Now that the initial shock has worn off, I’m feeling good about this move. Hood has proven as a decent wing scorer throughout his career (he’s averaging 12.8 points per game over 4.5 seasons) and brings much-needed size to the forward spot (he’s listed as 6-foot-8).
He’s never shot below 35.9 percent from three-point range throughout his 4.5 seasons, topping out at 38.1 percent last season. Another note: he’s shooting 44.1 percent on “wide open” (closest defender 6+ feet away) three-point shots this season. That would be welcomed in Portland.
Given his shooting track record, he brings a level of trust that I can’t say is fully there when Moe Harkless or Al-Farouq Aminu tee one up from deep. Speaking of Harkless, Hood brings competition for the starting small forward spot. Hood seems like an instant-starter, but minutes between him, Harkless and Layman will be fought over — unless a second move comes to clear up that situation.
The team desperately needed wing production. It’s not a blockbuster move, but it’s one in the right direction. I can appreciate that. Grade: B+
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