Rodney Hood

Blazers Granted Disabled Player Exception For Rodney Hood

The NBA has approved the Trail Blazers‘ application for a disabled player exception, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Portland submitted the request earlier this month after losing Rodney Hood to a season-ending Achilles injury.

As we explained in a previous story, the Blazers’ DPE for Hood will be worth $2,859,000, half of his 2019/20 salary ($5,718,000). The exception allows the club to sign a replacement player to a one-year contract, or to acquire a player on an expiring contract via trade or waivers, assuming his salary fits into the exception. It doesn’t provide an extra roster spot, though Portland already has an opening on its 15-man squad anyway.

Although the disabled player exception will give the franchise some added flexibility, the Blazers have the highest payroll of any NBA team for the ’19/20 season and would be on the hook for added tax penalties if they continue to increase team salary. As such, it would be a bit surprising if the club uses the DPE to sign a player for more than the veteran’s minimum.

The Blazers will have until March 10 to make use their disabled player exception. It will expire at that point if it hasn’t been utilized.

Our breakdown of which teams hold disabled player exceptions and which clubs have applied for them can be found right here.

Blazers Apply For Disabled Player Exception For Rodney Hood

In the wake of Rodney Hood‘s season-ending Achilles injury, the Trail Blazers have applied for a disabled player exception, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Given the projected timeline for Hood’s recovery, it seems likely that the NBA will grant Portland’s request.

As we outline in our glossary entry on the disabled player exception, a team can apply for a DPE to replace a seriously injured player. In order for the exception to be granted, an NBA-designated physician must determine that the player is “substantially more likely than not” to be sidelined through at least June 15 of that league year.

If granted, the disabled player exception allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, or for the amount of the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. In the case of Hood, the exception would be worth $2,859,000, half of his 2019/20 salary ($5,718,000).

The DPE, which doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, can also be used to acquire a player on an expiring contract via trade or waivers if his salary fits into the exception.

[RELATED: 2019/20 Disabled Player Exceptions]

The Blazers have the highest payroll of any NBA team for the 2019/20 season and would be on the hook for added tax penalties if they continue to increase team salary. Still, it doesn’t hurt to apply for a disabled player exception. If granted, the DPE will give Portland some added flexibility in free agency and on the trade market, but the team doesn’t necessarily have to use it.

The Pelicans (Darius Miller) and Lakers (DeMarcus Cousins) have been granted disabled player exceptions so far this season, and the Wizards recently requested one following C.J. Miles‘ season-ending wrist surgery.

Rodney Hood Out For Season With Torn Achilles Tendon

DECEMBER 11: Hood underwent successful surgery today to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon, the Blazers announced in a press release. While the club didn’t provide a timeline for his recovery, it’s a safe bet that he’ll miss at least the rest of the 2019/20 season, as noted below.

DECEMBER 7: Rodney Hood will miss the rest of the regular season after tearing his left Achilles tendon Friday night, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

The Trail Blazers‘ swingman suffered the injury in the first quarter of a game against the Lakers while battling for a rebound with JaVale McGee. Hood grabbed the ball, then fell to the court in pain. He was helped to the locker room, where an MRI confirmed the damage.

“I’m very sad,” coach Terry Stotts said. “Very disappointed for Rodney, who was having a good year for us. I hate for anybody to have an injury like that takes them out for the season. So I feel for him.”

Hood had started all 21 games in his first full season in Portland and was averaging 11.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per night while shooting 49.3% from 3-point range. He was acquired from Cleveland at last year’s trade deadline to provide some shooting help for the playoffs.

Hood said he tweaked his Achilles during Wednesday’s game, but Stotts told Friedell that he may have hurt it even earlier. The Blazers’ medical staff cleared him to play Friday night.

“It’s tough, man,” Damian Lillard said. “You hate to see injuries in the league, period. You hate to see one of your teammates go down to an injury like that, especially a starter and somebody that was really a good person having a great season, fitting in really well with our team, a big part of what we do. You feel for him personally more than anything. Just sad to see that happen to him.”

Hood’s progress in rehab will factor into his decision on a modest $6MM player option for next year. His performance could have led to a much bigger payday, but taking the money may be the safest option if the injury threatens to sideline him into next season.

Western Notes: Morant, Harrell, Hood, Gasol, Murray

The Grizzlies are playing Ja Morant limited minutes and they plan to keep it that way for the foreseeable future, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Morant played fewer than 30 minutes in four of his first five games, with the exception coming during an overtime game. Coach Taylor Jenkins hopes the approach will keep the second overall pick and anointed floor leader fresh during the 82-game schedule. “I’ve always been a big believer, you start playing in the mid-30s (minutes per game) you kind of wear down,” Jenkins said. “Our rookies, including him, have never played 82 games in a season.”

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Forward Montrezl Harrell continues to prove his worth to the Clippers, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times writes. Harrell, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, is averaging 19.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG to help the team weather the injury absence of Paul George. After acquiring him in the Chris Paul deal with Houston, the Clippers were so unsure about Harrell that they considered waiving him during the summer of 2017, according to Elliott.
  • Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood suffered a knee injury on Saturday but he didn’t sustain any structural damage, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports. The team’s medical staff determined that Hood has a bone bruise. Hood re-signed with Portland this offseason on a two-year, $11.7MM contract. Veteran center Pau Gasol, who joined Portland on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, has ramped up his workouts as he continues rehab from offseason foot surgery. Gasol did a series of shooting drills after a shootaround last week.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray has become a more vocal leader this season and his teammates appreciate the change, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic relays. “I think it’s big-time,” fellow guard Monte Morris said. “If he’s going to be our starting point guard, everybody’s going to look for him to lead us.”
  • Nikola Jokic‘s numbers are down and Nuggets coach Michael Malone says his center must get more aggressive, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. He’s averaging 15.8 PPG, 4.3 PPG down from his average last season, while taking 2.6 fewer shots per game. “I don’t think he is, in terms of people thinking he’s checked out or not playing hard,” Malone said. “I don’t see that as the case at all. … I just have to make sure I keep on reminding him of how important he is to us, being aggressive and setting the tone.” Jokic is in the second year of a five-year, $147.7MM contract.

Blazers Notes: Hood, Kanter, McCollum, Aldridge

Shooting guard Rodney Hood surprised the Trail Blazers by accepting the $5.72MM taxpayer mid-level exception, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports.

Portland was hoping to bring back center Enes Kanter at that number, but he balked. Blazers GM Neil Olshey thought Hood wanted more in free agency but was pleasantly surprised by Hood’s decision.

Olshey then shifted gears to finding a starting-quality center and got involved in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade to Miami, winding up with Hassan Whiteside by dealing Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard.

We have more on the Blazers:

  • Backcourt partners CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard are now locked up long-term after McCollum signed a three-year, $100MM extension and they’re excited about that prospect, as he told Quick in a separate story. “It’s a special time,” McCollum said. “(Lillard and I) talked about being in Portland, making a staple here and winning a championship here, and all those things. We’ve crossed off a lot of goals individually and collectively, but I think that both of us being here for the long haul, and both of us being able to grow together and win together is something that people will remember for a long time.”
  • Pau Gasol, who recently signed with the Blazers, said former Spurs teammate LaMarcus Aldridge has spoken highly of Portland and may want to play there again, Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report tweets. Aldridge said last season he and Lillard had spoken about the prospect of becoming teammates again. Aldridge’s $24MM contract for the 2020/21 season is not guaranteed, so it’s conceivable that could occur as soon as next summer.
  • If you missed the details on McCollum’s extension, you can find it all here.

Rodney Hood Re-Signs With Blazers

JULY 6: The Blazers have offically re-signed Hood, the team confirmed today in a press release.

JUNE 30: Free agent Rodney Hood has agreed to stay with the Trail Blazers on a two-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While Woj pegs the value at $16MM, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports that the agreement will be worth $5.7MM next season and contains a $6MM player option for the following season. Those numbers make more sense, as Portland doesn’t have Hood’s Bird rights and likely will be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Portland acquired Hood in a deal with Cleveland prior to the trade deadline last season, using his scoring and energy off the bench heading into the playoffs. The team recently traded for Kent Bazemore as insurance on the wing if Hood committed elsewhere, but the two sides were able to finalize an agreement less than an hour into free agency.

Hood, 26, averaged 9.6 points per game in 27 contests with the Blazers this season, shooting 45% from the floor and 35% from 3-point range. He was the No. 23 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to Utah.

Free Agent Rumors: Millsap, Blazers, Lakers, D-Lo, Kemba, Portis

The Nuggets are prepared to potentially account for Paul Millsap‘s $30MM team option on their 2019/20 cap if they don’t believe they’ll be able to negotiate a new, more favorable deal with the big man in free agency, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested as part of the network’s free agency special on Tuesday night (video link).

While the Nuggets would have limited cap flexibility this summer with Millsap’s $30MM on their books, the club values him and wants to bring him back, according to both Woj and ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

Meanwhile, Woj and Lowe also weighed in on Trail Blazers, Denver’s opponent in the Western Semifinals this spring. There are indications that the Blazers won’t rest on their laurels this offseason, according to Lowe, who suggests that Portland may be one move away from becoming a legit title threat.

Wojnarowski agrees, though he cautions that the Blazers – who are more likely to make a big move via trade than on the free agent market – may end up waiting until during the season to try to make that move. Woj adds that Portland may not be able to keep Rodney Hood, since it looks as if his value this summer could exceed the taxpayer mid-level. The Blazers don’t have Hood’s Bird rights.

Here’s more on free agency from around the NBA:

  • In a pair of ESPN appearances (video links), Wojnarowski continues to suggest that the idea of a reunion between the Lakers and D’Angelo Russell isn’t far-fetched. According to Woj, Russell is “open-minded” about the idea, while the Lakers wouldn’t mind seeing Kyrie Irving go to Brooklyn, since it would increase the odds of the Nets withdrawing Russell’s QO and making him an unrestricted free agent. If Anthony Davis waives his trade kicker, the Lakers could theoretically offer Russell his max without trading Moritz Wagner or Isaac Bonga.
  • One league source who spoke to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) views the Celtics as the favorites for free agent point guard Kemba Walker, followed by the Hornets and Mavericks.
  • The Wizards aren’t expected to match a huge offer sheet for Bobby Portis, who has generated interest from multiple teams already, sources tell Tony Jones and Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jones also repeats a number that has been previously reported, indicating that Portis is seeking an annual salary of up to $16MM.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu is technically eligible for a contract extension with the Trail Blazers until Sunday, but he tells Jason Quick of The Athletic, “I haven’t really talked to [president of basketball operations] Neil [Olshey] (Twitter link). Aminu will reach the open market as an unrestricted free agent on the evening of June 30, assuming Portland doesn’t lock him up before then.

Blazers Notes: Ownership, Nurkic, Hood, Kanter

While there’s a perception in NBA circles that the Trail Blazers‘ ownership situation is unsettled in the wake of Paul Allen‘s death last fall, the team’s head of basketball operations, Neil Olshey, doesn’t subscribe to that notion, as Jason Quick of The Athletic relays.

“Nothing is unsettled. Jody is our owner,” Olshey said during the Blazers’ exit interviews, referring to Paul’s sister Jody Allen. “She has been fantastic in terms of engagement. She has addressed the team when we’ve asked her to. She was really emotional after the OKC series, that was the validation, knowing how much Paul believed in the core of this group and to see it come to fruition.

“Jody stepped up and spoke to the team in a way that resonated with everybody and struck a chord with the players and staff and everyone there that she has our back, she has a vision for the franchise, she believes in the group, she cares about the players, and the magnitude of what she has had to take on,” Olshey continued, per Quick. “At a time when we needed ownership to show solidarity with the front office, the coaching staff, the business division, she was there for us.”

Allen has exhibited that commitment to the franchise since Portland’s season ended earlier this month, having locked up Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts to contract extensions.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • According to Olshey (via Quick), injured Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is making “great progress” from his broken left leg. While the team hasn’t offered a specific recovery timetable for Nurkic, Quick speculates that the big man could be ready to return to action sometime just before next season’s All-Star break. “Guys can’t believe where he is relative to what they saw only four weeks ago,” Olshey said of Nurkic. “He is a core piece to this roster, a foundational piece going forward, and we are going to drive him. But also knowing we are going to do what’s best for Nurk on a long-term basis in terms of his recovery and his timeline.”
  • The Blazers aren’t expecting to be able to retain Rodney Hood or Enes Kanter using the taxpayer mid-level exception (projected to be worth about $5.7MM), writes Quick. If the club can shed enough salary to gain access to the full mid-level exception – or Hood and Kanter don’t receive as much interest as anticipated – Hood would likely be the priority over Kanter, in Quick’s view.
  • Quick doesn’t expect the Blazers’ three big expiring contracts for Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, and Maurice Harkless to garner a ton of interest on the trade market this offseason, contending that they could become more intriguing trade chips during the season.
  • Former St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds is set to work out for the Trail Blazers on Friday, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. According to Quick, Portland will likely only hold “three or four” pre-draft workouts since the club has just one pick (No. 25) in this year’s draft.

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Stotts, Offseason

Earlier today, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Trail Blazers are expected to sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension that would lock him up for four additional seasons beyond the end of his current contract.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst covered the same subject in his own article this morning, pointing out that the uncertain ownership situation in Portland is a potential wild card for Lillard and the Blazers. However, even though the star point guard would remain eligible to sign a super-max extension in 2020, he’s “at ease” with the ownership situation and is open to signing that new deal this offseason, sources tell Windhorst.

While Trail Blazers ownership – headed by Jody Allen, the sister of late owner Paul Allen – appears set to commit big money to Lillard, it’s unclear whether the team will continue to authorize future luxury-tax spending, Windhorst writes. For now, those in the organization have been informed that no short-term changes to spending are anticipated.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Terry Stotts‘ contract situation will be worth watching closely this offseason, as 2019/20 is the final year of his current deal. Sources tell Chris Haynes that Stotts wasn’t pleased about not being extended a year ago, so the team will likely have to put an extension on the table now in order to get him back for next season. Head of basketball operations Neil Olshey, who has two years left on his contract, may have earned an extension as well, Windhorst writes.
  • In his preview of the Trail Blazers’ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) explains why it will be tricky for the team to retain role players like Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter, and Seth Curry, and points out that CJ McCollum will be extension-eligible too.
  • Sean Deveney of Sporting News previews Portland’s upcoming summer as well, exploring whether the club can find a way to take another leap forward in 2019/20.
  • Jason Quick of The Athletic rounded up some post-game reactions from Blazers players on Monday, and took a look back at what was a memorable 2018/19 season for the franchise. “In the past few years, I’ve been much more like … hurt,” Lillard said, following Portland’s elimination. “Right now, a lot of the things that happened … like, I know how we lost. And not dominating how I would have liked to is disappointing. But to be where we are now — one of the final four teams — it doesn’t hurt as bad.”

Northwest Notes: Hood, Millsap, Zanik, Jazz

An MRI on Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood‘s left knee showed no structural damage and he’ll be listed as day-to-day for the Western Conference Finals, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Hood suffered a bone bruise when he ran into a pick set by the Nuggets’ Torrey Craig during Portland’s Game 7 victory on Sunday. Hood, who enters unrestricted free agency this summer, was a major factor off the bench in the series against the Nuggets. He averaged 14.7 PPG in the conference semifinals.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran forward Paul Millsap is intent on helping a team win a championship, whether it’s the Nuggets or another contending franchise, as he told Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The team holds a $30MM option on Millsap’s contract for next season. “We’ve proved everybody wrong,” the 34-year-old Millsap said. “For me, not really trying to prove everybody wrong, but prove to myself that I can do it my way and still win. I can do it with whoever I want to do it with. It ain’t got to be the Golden State Warriors of the Lakers or whatever. I can help a young, talented team reach that goal.”
  • New Jazz GM Justin Zanik believes that continuity within the organization will get it to the next level, as he told Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Zanik was promoted from assistant GM last week. “We have a very experienced front office and we know what we need to do,” he said, “so however we get that done, we’re going to do it together and continue to just keep pushing forward with the Jazz to keep us on this championship-competitive path.”
  • Zanik’s promotion, as well as the elevation of Dennis Lindsey to executive VP of basketball operations, doesn’t mean big changes are on the way, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes.