Rodney Hood

Northwest Notes: Sampson, Augustin, Hood

JaKarr Sampson is surprised about how easily he’s fit in with the Nuggets since joining the team last month, as Nicki Jhabvala and Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relay. Sampson signed a two-year deal following a snafu that caused the Sixers to lose him, and he’s filled in as a starter for the injured Danilo Gallinari. Sampson is dealing with a strained right shoulder himself, but he played through it Wednesday, and his time in Denver has been smooth thus far. “The transition has been easy,” Sampson said. “My teammates have made it easy for me and coach [Michael Malone] has made it easy for me. So, it hasn’t been hard, the transition — new sets, new teammates. I love my teammates. We’ve got a great staff here. Everything has been easy for me.”

See more from Denver amid news from the Northwest Division:

  • D.J. Augustin, who says he’d love to re-sign with the Nuggets this summer, has made a strong impression in his brief time with Denver since coming over via trade last month, observes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post“D.J.’s our security blanket,” Malone said. “He’s won games for us. Put the ball into his hands in the fourth quarter and he steps up, makes shots, hits free throws and always makes the right play.”
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey is excited about Rodney Hood‘s room for continued growth, notes Kareem Copeland of The Associated Press, and the team is proving wise for having selected him 23rd overall in 2014, Copeland argues. “What we saw was a guy that was somewhat sophisticated with the ball and with his reads,” Lindsey said. “It was relatively evident fairly quick that he’d be a nice fit for us. It’s to the kid’s credit that he’s gotten better since this time last year.”
  • The Thunder have focused too much on adding scoring punch around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and not enough on finding role players, argues Christopher Reina of RealGM. That plus their reliance on traditional big men threatens to leave the franchise in a compromising position, unable to win a title despite the presence of two elite players, Reina writes.

Jazz Have External Trade Talk About Trey Burke

The Jazz have held multiple discussions with other teams about trades involving Trey Burke, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Still, the Jazz aren’t in line to acquire fellow point guard Jeff Teague from the Hawks, Jones tweets, despite an earlier report that they were thinking about pursuing him. Utah rejected an offer from the Hawks of Teague for Rodney Hood and a draft pick, according to Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone radio in Salt Lake City (Twitter link).

Jazz coach Quin Snyder has praised Burke for his defense, Jones notes, and the No. 9 overall pick is shooting a career best 42.3% from the floor and 34.7% from 3-point range. Still, his minutes are at a career-low 23.6 per game, down significantly from the 30.1 he saw last season, even though he seemed to be first in line to start when Dante Exum went down with a torn ACL in the summer. The Jazz have gone with rookie Raul Neto as the starter instead and often employed lineups with three wing players instead of a point guard.

Burke, the No. 9 pick from the 2013 draft, is making more than $2.658MM this season in year three of his four-year rookie scale contract. He’ll be up for an extension this summer.

Jones speculates that George Hill, whom the Pacers have reportedly dangled in talks with Atlanta about Teague, would be a strong fit for the Jazz, and that he’d be obtainable if Utah has interest (Twitter links). The Tribune scribe believes that an offer of Burke and the unprotected 2017 first-round pick the Warriors owe the Jazz would be reasonable in exchange for Hill. Still, it’s unclear whether any connection exists between the Jazz and Pacers on that front.

Jazz Exercise Options On Four Players

The Jazz have exercised third-year options on Dante Exum and Rodney Hood and fourth-year options on Trey Burke and Rudy Gobert, the team announced today. All four options are for the 2016/17 season.

The 20-year-old Exum will receive slightly more than $3.94MM. He is expected to miss the upcoming season after damaging the ACL in his left knee while playing for the Australian National Team. He appeared in all 82 games during his rookie season in Utah, averaging 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Exum was part of the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.

Hood, 22, will earn a little over $1.4MM. He averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists during his rookie campaign and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month during the final month of last season.

The 22-year-old Burke will make nearly $3.39MM. He has started 111 games during his first two NBA seasons and has averages of 12.8 points 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2013/14 and has been part of the Rising Stars Challenge the past two seasons.

Gobert, 23, will make more than $2.1MM. He sparked the Jazz to a 22-15 record after moving into the starting lineup in the middle of last season. Gobert finished fifth in the Defensive Player of the Year voting and became the third player in Utah history to top 180 blocked shots in a season. He has career averages of 6.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Hornets Rumors: Batum, Zeller, Cho, Clifford

The Celtics offered the Hornets a package that included four first-round picks to entice Charlotte to give up the No. 9 pick last month, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Boston was willing to give up its own pick at No. 16, the No. 15 pick that they would tentatively have acquired from the Hawks, an unprotected future first-round pick from the Nets (presumably the 2018 pick Brooklyn owes Boston) and a future first-rounder from either the Grizzlies or the Timberwolves (presumably the ones those teams already owe Boston), as Lowe details. Some front office members in Charlotte liked the idea, but owner Michael Jordan preferred to roll with Frank Kaminsky, whom the Hornets took at No. 9, several sources said to Lowe. The Grantland scribe delves into the implications of that choice, and he touches on more, too, as we highlight amid the latest from the Queen City:

  • Nicolas Batum‘s camp has been talking about how much he’d like to play with the Raptors, given the international appeal of Toronto, several league sources tell Lowe. The native of France, whom the Hornets traded for last month, is set to become a free agent after this coming season.
  • The Hornets have been willing to talk about Cody Zeller when they discuss trades with other teams, sources tell Lowe. That jibes with a report from shortly before the draft that Charlotte was aggressively shopping the big man.
  • GM Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford have had a chilly relationship since last year’s departure of president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, sources familiar with the situation tell Lowe, yet Cho, Clifford and Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk all downplay the notion. “I would say it’s a good relationship now,” Cho says. “I value his input. We’re not always going to agree, but I wouldn’t expect to.”
  • Polk, Jordan, Cho, assistant GM Chad Buchanan and director of player personnel Larry Jordan, Michael’s brother, are the primary decision-makers for the team, according to Lowe.
  • Charlotte shopped Noah Vonleh and the No. 9 pick in a package to try to move up in the draft before abandoning that pursuit and trading Vonleh in the Batum deal, as Lowe details.
  • The Hornets had interest in Rodney Hood going into last year’s draft, Lowe hears. Hood wound up going at No. 23 to Utah, and Charlotte had an opportunity to move down into a spot where it might have nabbed him instead of Vonleh, as Lowe explains.
  • Hornets brass likes Elliot Williams, whom the Hornets have reportedly agreed to sign to a camp deal, but they see him as an insurance policy and don’t view him as a replacement for backup point guard Brian Roberts, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).

Western Notes: Jazz, Hood, Crawford, Spurs

The Jazz‘s willingness to commit to paying building blocks like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors has helped the team show signs that it will quickly rebound from its rebuilding project, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details. Critical, too, was the deadline-day trade that sent Enes Kanter out, at his request, as the Jazz weren’t interested in paying a premium to keep him in restricted free agency this summer, writes Chris Mannix of A greater focus on Favors and Rudy Gobert since then has paid dividends, as Mannix examines.

“[The trade] helped me work on my game a lot,” Favors said. “Enes was the first option in the post. Since the trade, it’s always been me. It’s helped me work on my game and made me better for it.”

Coach Quin Snyder downplays the connection between the Kanter trade and the team’s ascent in the standings, Mannix notes. Still, Utah was 19-34 at the deadline and has gone 12-3 since. There’s more on the Jazz amid the latest from the Western Conference:

  • Jazz higher-ups are “positively giddy” about the future of Rodney Hood, as Mannix reports in the same piece. Utah selected Hood 23rd overall in June after the swingman spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors last spring.
  • The Clippers aren’t sure they’ll have Jamal Crawford back for the playoffs, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of Crawford has missed the last eight games because of a bruised right calf that Doc Rivers has deemed a “serious injury” and one that won’t have him back “anytime soon, that’s for sure,” Howard-Cooper notes. L.A. has an open roster spot and Nate Robinson on a 10-day contract.
  • The Spurs are keeping a close eye on draft-and-stash prospect Davis Bertans of late, as Lefteris Moutis of writes in a slideshow dedicated to the 10 European players who have the best chances of playing in the NBA next season. The power forward has a contract that runs through 2017 with Spain’s Laboral Kuxta (aka Saski Baskonia), as Mark Porcaro shows in our Draft Rights Held Players database, though it apparently contains NBA escape clauses for each year of the deal.

Western Notes: Lee, Durant, Jazz

Some around the Warriors think David Lee‘s return from injury in December disrupted the team’s rhythm, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group hears, and the team has essentially squeezed him out of the rotation for now. The Warriors were steadfast at the deadline that they didn’t want to simply shed Lee in a salary dump, Kawakami writes, nonetheless adding that he expects Golden State to make a push to trade him this summer.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • No one believes that Thunder GM Sam Presti would ever trade Kevin Durant, a league executive told Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Presti dismissed the idea he’d make such a move after ESPN analyst and former team exec Tom Penn suggested that he would.
  • Jay Yeomans of the Deseret News reviews how Jazz draft-and-stash picks Ante Tomic, Tibor Pleiss, and Raul Neto are faring overseas this season.
  • Jazz rookie Rodney Hood is providing some much needed scoring from the wing for the team, which was a big reason why Utah drafted him last June, Kareem Copeland of writes. “He makes shots and has the ability to space the floor. He’s also gets to the rim, too,” coach Quin Snyder said of Hood. “The plan, really in the beginning, Rodney was going to play. Whether he was going to start or how many minutes, you never know. He’s good enough and we need him.
  • Though Enes Kanter is receiving similar playing time with the Thunder as he did with the Jazz, the big man is more content thanks to being on a more successful team, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman relays. “Well, the thing is we are winning here,” Kanter said. “We are playing for something. We are playing for playoffs, we are playing for ring. There [in Utah], I still respect them and I don’t want to say nothing bad about them. But this is just way different than what I’ve been seeing. It’s a whole different level. This is like I realize what NBA is when I came to Oklahoma City.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Thomas, Spurs, Hood

The Suns‘ three point guard system was one of the factors that led Isaiah Thomas to agree to a sign-and-trade deal this past summer, the guard said during an interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (hat tip to Matt Petersen of “That’s what I signed here for, was to play with those other two guards and to cause havoc on both ends of the floor playing with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe,” Thomas said. “Everybody’s getting a consistent rotation. Guys know when they’re really going to come in and play, and who they’re going to play with. I think everybody’s just getting comfortable with everybody.”

Here’s more from the West:

  • The Spurs are finding their quest to repeat as NBA champions a rather difficult road to travel, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. Because of injuries and the age of his roster, coach Gregg Popovich has already had to use 23 starting lineups through 42 games so far this season, which is tied with Knicks for the most in the NBA, Lee notes. “You just deal with whatever you have and move on,” Popovich said. “I don’t think there are too many coaches who aren’t concerned about something.”
  • Rajon Rondo‘s true value to the Mavericks isn’t necessarily reflected in his stat line, but rather in his excellent play during clutch situations, Tim MacMahon of writes. “He’s a big-time player, and big-time players make big plays down the stretch,” Dallas big man Tyson Chandler said. “He’s not going to always put up the huge numbers that are going to wow you, but he’s one of those guys that you want with you in the trenches when you know the game is on the line. He’s just going to do something – something – to make an impact on the game.”
  • Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, who injured his left foot during Sunday’s contest against the Spurs, will be out of action through the All-Star break, at which point his status will be reevaluated, the team has announced. The 22-year-old has appeared in 24 games for Utah this season, averaging 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.3 minutes per contest.

Jazz Sign Rodney Hood

6:42pm: The signing is official, the team has announced.

1:20pm: The Jazz have signed No. 23 overall pick Rodney Hood, as Hood reveals on his verified Twitter account. He’ll likely receive slightly more than $1.29MM this coming season, as our chart of salaries for 2014 first-round picks shows.

The 6’8″ former Duke Blue Devil touted his versatility and readiness to play when he spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors before the draft. He averaged 16.1 points per game with 42.0% three-point shooting this past season in his lone year at the school after transferring from Mississippi State.

The Jazz took Hood at the back end of the range into which Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors thought he would fall when he examined the 21-year-old’s prospect profile. That sets Utah up with the potential for strong value from the pick. The Jazz also have the rights to No. 5 overall pick Dante Exum, who remains unsigned but will likely ink soon.

Draft Notes: Payton, Embiid, Knicks

In Jeff Goodman’s latest mock draft for ESPN (Insiders only), Elfrid Payton gets selected by the Timberwolves at No. 13. In response to that projection, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN said that Minnesota doesn’t have any interest in drafting the former Louisiana Lafayette guard with that pick. It probably won’t matter anyway, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe hears that Payton has been greatly impressive in workouts and won’t slip past the top 10 on draft night (Twitter links).

With that aside, we’ll keep tabs on this evening’s draft-related news here:

  • Add Sweden’s Viktor Gaddefors to the list of players that Memphis is bringing in for a second workout on Wednesday, notes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal.
  • The Hornets appear primed to add at least one big man with either the 24th or 45th pick in this year’s draft, and Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer lists Mitch McGary and Johnny O’Bryant as potential targets.
  • Former Florida big man Patric Young is on Phil Jackson’s draft wish list, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman also points out that the Knicks worked out Jahii Carson recently.
  • Following up Andy Katz’s earlier ESPN report that the Kings have three deals in place regarding their No. 8 pick, ESPN’s Marc Stein identified the Celtics, Suns, and 76ers as the potential trading partners.

Earlier updates:

  • The Pelicans are making a concerted effort to acquire a first-round pick, tweets’s David Aldridge.
  • According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, Joel Embiid is strongly in play for the 76ers at No. 3 and the Magic at No. 4; the worst-case scenario is that Embiid won’t fall past the Kings at No. 8 (Twitter link).
  • The Knicks remain confident that they’ll land a first-round pick and/or a second-round pick in Thursday’s draft, tweets Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
  • The Pistons are without a first-round pick this year, but team president/head coach Stan Van Gundy says that one team picking between No. 26 and No. 30 is open to shedding their pick for the best offer. There’s one team that’s saying “give us your best deal for (our) pick” (Twitter link via Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News). 
  • The Bucks made an unsuccessful attempt to bring in Cleanthony Early for a workout, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times.
  • In another piece, Woelfel notes that the Spurs, Pacers, and Pistons are among the list of teams that brought second-round hopeful Jamil Wilson in for a workout.
  • The Grizzlies are trying to put together a last minute workout for Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Adams, Joe Harris, and Geron Johnson tomorrow, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.
  • Former Duke swingman Rodney Hood participated in a second workout for the Suns, notes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Bucks, Wiggins, Payton, Hood

Bad news for Joel Embiid and Dante Exum.  Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry says that it would be “hard to take Embiid” given his foot injury and indicated that it’ll come down to either Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel.  Here’s the latest draft news from around the league..

  • League sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that the Kings are seriously considering Louisiana-Lafayette product Elfrid Payton Jr. at No. 8 and few expect him to slip past the Magic at No. 12.
  • Duke sharpshooter Rodney Hood is back with the Hornets for a second attempt at a workout tomorrow, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter).  Hoops Rumors chatted with Hood back in May about the draft process and his NBA goals.
  • K.J. McDaniels will also receive a second audition for the Hornets and he’ll be joined by UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Missouri’s Jabari Brown, Jarell Eddie of Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson (Twitter links).
  • Former North Carolina wing P.J. Hairston is working out today for the Bulls, who may end up trading one or both of their first-round picks, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.  Chicago is currently slated to pick at Nos. 16 and 19.
  • Former Syracuse forward C.J. Fair will audition for the Thunder today, the Pistons tomorrow, and the Nets on Wednesday, Zagoria tweets.
  • The Bulls have Michigan State’s Adreian Payne matching up against Chad Posthumus of Morehead State in a workout today, according to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (via Twitter).
  • The Wizards will look to take the best player available when they’re called at the podium but J. Michael of hears that they’re favoring size.

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