Rodney Hood

Northwest Notes: Hood, Thunder, Patterson, Blazers

Rodney Hood‘s offseason began with a “frank” exit meeting the day after the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs, as general manager Dennis Lindsey challenged the fourth-year shooting guard to become more efficient and more consistent — and to prepare for a larger role. As Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune details, Hood has responded to that directive by staying in Utah for the summer and working harder than ever to get ready for the 2017/18 season.

“There were a lot of challenges we gave Rodney,” the Jazz GM said. “What he needs to be doing, his commitment level to his development. And he’s responded this summer. He’s going to be given a prominent role, and his development will be significant to us.”

With Gordon Hayward having left the Jazz for Boston, Hood will be required to take on a greater share of the scoring load in Utah, and as Lindsey suggests, the team’s success figures to hinge in part on how Hood responds to that increased responsibility.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Russell Westbrook won’t have to shoulder so much of the burden for the Thunder this season with Paul George in the mix, according to Shaun Powell of NBA.com, who believes that Westbrook will look to accommodate his new All-Star teammate as much as possible. Speaking of George, Brett Dawson went into detail on the veteran forward’s intense offseason conditioning regimen in an interesting piece for The Oklahoman.
  • Speaking to Nick Gallo of NBA.com, Patrick Patterson talked about why he chose the Thunder in free agency this offseason and how he envisions his role with the franchise. As Patterson notes, heading to Oklahoma City will give him the opportunity to re-connect with Billy Donovan, who attempted to recruit him out of high school.
  • With training camp fast approaching, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian is taking a player-by-player look at the Trail Blazers‘ roster. So far this week, he has examined Jusuf Nurkic, who is extension-eligible this offseason, and discussed Evan Turner, who will look to bounce back from a poor 2016/17 as he enters the second season of a lucrative four-year contract.

Jazz, Rodney Hood Begin Discussing Extension

The Jazz and Rodney Hood have opened negotiations on a possible contract extension for the fourth-year shooting guard, reports Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. According to Jones, the two sides have only had preliminary conversations so far, but another meeting is expected to take place within the next few weeks.

Hood and teammate Dante Exum are two of 21 players entering the final year of their respective rookie contracts who are eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. Although there’s some internal hope within the organization that Exum is on the verge of a breakout, the Jazz are expected to let him play out his final year and enter restricted free agency, says Jones.

[RELATED: Players eligible for rookie scale extensions in 2017]

However, the Jazz are interested in getting something done with Hood before the 2017/18 regular season begins, and as we heard earlier this week, Hood and his camp are “very open” to that idea. The Duke alum, who will turn 25 next month, has started 155 games during his first three NBA seasons, but will be poised to take on an even larger role in Utah with Gordon Hayward gone.

Sources tell Jones that Hood has been in Salt Lake City for most of the summer working closely with Utah’s coaching staff, and the Jazz are confident that Hood can make a significant leap forward in 2017/18. Still, there have been questions in the past about Hood’s consistency and durability, so it will be interesting to see if the two sides can find a price point that everyone likes.

In 2016/17, Hood averaged 12.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG with a shooting line of .408/.371/.783 in 59 regular season contests (27.0 MPG). He struggled in the postseason, scoring just 8.9 PPG with a .352/.260/.611 shooting line.

Kyler’s Latest: Parker, Embiid, A. Gordon, Hood

Andrew Wiggins‘ case for a contract extension has received most of the attention so far this summer, but Wiggins is just one of 21 players heading into the final year of their respective rookie contracts who are eligible for rookie scale extensions this offseason.

In his latest piece for Basketball Insiders, Steve Kyler takes a closer look at several of those extension-eligible players, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • There’s a sense that the Bucks are open to getting something done this offseason with Jabari Parker, since they’re confident he’ll make a full recovery from his latest ACL tear, sources tell Kyler. However, Milwaukee would almost certainly ask Parker to accept a team-friendly rate, so he’s more likely to play out his final year and seek out a new deal next summer as a restricted free agent.
  • There’s a “growing sense” that the Sixers will extend Joel Embiid, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll accept an offer worth less than the max, writes Kyler. A deal structured like Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s four-year, $100MM extension might make sense if Embiid doesn’t want to push hard for a max contract.
  • With a new management team in place in Orlando, the Magic are expected to take a wait-and-see approach to a new deal for Aaron Gordon, unless he’s willing to sign at a discounted rate for the sake of long-term security, says Kyler.
  • If the Celtics lock up Marcus Smart to a long-term deal, it’s more likely to happen in 2018 than this offseason, per Kyler.
  • With the Lakers looking to maximize their 2018 cap room, Julius Randle has a better chance to be traded at some point before February’s deadline than he does to be extended before the season, according to Kyler.
  • Sources tell Kyler that Rodney Hood and his camp are “very open” to negotiating an extension with the Jazz. The Basketball Insiders scribe estimates that something in the Evan Turner range (four years, $70MM) might be an appropriate price point for Hood.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, George, Hood, Murray

Russell Westbrook and Paul George will be teammates for the first time in the NBA this upcoming season after George was traded to the Thunder earlier this offseason. Just like any other superstar duo in NBA history, it will take time for both players to get acclimated to each other on and off the court. The duo got a head start after having their first workout together on Monday at a UCLA gym with four Oklahoma City teammates, ESPN’s Royce Young writes.

Young noted that Monday’s workout was the second organized by Westbrook this summer but George was unable to attend the first one due to a pre-planned vacation. Monday’s acclimation was the first of many steps for the reigning MVP and George to become comfortable; George addressed the importance of establishing a chemistry with his new teammates during his introductory press conference.

“Right now, it’s taking it as it comes,” George said (via ESPN). “We have a fresh start, and a chance to do something special is really the first thing that comes to mind. I’m not looking past 2017-18, we haven’t accomplished nothing yet. When it comes to that, when I get there, we’ll address that, but right now me and [Westbrook] have something to build now, and we’ll see where it takes us. It could be something that’s special that we build and want to continue on building.”

Read up on other news around the Northwest Division:

Northwest Notes: Hood, Kanter, Blazers

When Gordon Hayward hits free agency next month he’s expected to generate considerable interest. While the Jazz are intent on retaining the All-Star, Benjamin Mehic of the Deseret News suggests that Rodney Hood could be a possible, in-house replacement.

Mehic argues that Hood’s career thus far has followed a similar trajectory to that of Hayward’s, with the former facing similar critiques to what Hayward faced early in his own career.

Although, like Hayward, Hood will look to add bulk to finish stronger around the rim, he could potentially surpass Hayward on the defensive side of the ball. Mehic cites Hood’s 6’9″ wingspan as one of his best attributes heading forward.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • In an update to a story we discussed earlier this week, Enes Kanter‘s father has been released from a Turkish prison, Erik Horne of the Oklahoman relays. On June 2, the Thunder big man announced that his family’s Istanbul home was raided by local authorities and that his father was arrested.
  • The Timberwolves worked out Jarrett Allen on Wednesday and the Texas forward profiles as a good fit for the organization, Jerry Zgoda of the StarTribune writes. Allen has been projected in the 10th-20th range, below Minnesota’s current No. 7 overall selection, but the team could always trade down.
  • The Trail Blazers have been busy auditioning potential draft picks this week, bringing in players like Harry Giles and Donovan Mitchell on Thursday (Joe Freeman of the Oregonian tweets) and then several more on Friday including Tyler Lydon and Isaiah Briscoe (per Casey Holdahl of Portland’s official site)

Northwest Notes: Aldrich, Westbrook, Plumlee, Hood

Cole Aldrich, who signed a three-year, $22MM deal with the Wolves over the summer, was brought in to be a veteran mentor to the younger guys on the team and he’s enjoying his role, as he tells Michael Rand of The StarTribune. “Well, with [Jordan Hill], myself, [Brandon Rush] and we had John Lucas earlier in the year, it’s fun to have those guys and the young guys,” Aldrich said. “The teams we were on last year, we were all on older teams, playoff teams. Being able to bring our experience from those teams to a younger group of guys has been a lot of fun.”

More from around the Northwest…

  • Several of Mason Plumlee‘s teammates had adverse reactions to Sunday’s trade, Casey Holdahl of NBA.com reports. “I mean, the business sucks man,” Damian Lillard said. “You wish you could get a team together and put pieces together and you can keep it together. You wish you had the power to keep it together regardless of anything. It happens this way sometimes.” Plumlee, who was dealt to the Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, had become an “adept playmaker” under coach Terry Stotts. “He’s [Plumlee] just a glue guy that you want on your team,” C.J. McCollum said. “He’s a guy who does things the right way, never complains and he’s getting better. He put together a nice string of 20, 25 games to where he’s getting double-doubles, making his free throws, finishing in the lane. And he’s a good guy. That’s what matters the most, he’s a good guy.”
  • Kevin Durant continues to get the best of Russell Westbrook, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. KD is averaging 37.7 points against OKC this season, a span in which the Warriors have gone 3-0. Despite the loss, Westbrook appeared to enjoy the home crowd’s mental warfare against Durant. “Honestly, I used to get booed in all arenas,” Westbrook said. “So, you know, the tables have turned a little bit.”
  • Chris Haynes of ESPN was critical of Westbrook’s demeanor in Saturday’s rivalry game, writing: “That miniature exchange exemplified Durant’s frustration in playing alongside Westbrook for those eight years with the Thunder. It was always, “I’m coming. I’m coming.” Meanwhile, the team wasn’t going anywhere.” Whereas Westbrook pursued lofty stats, Haynes writes, Durant always prioritized winning.
  • Rodney Hood, who has been out of action since February 1 due to a right knee injury, is expected to return after the All-Star break, the Jazz announced on its official website. Hood has averaged 13.7 points with 3.6 rebounds through 40 games in 2016/17.

Northwest Notes: Ezeli, Hayward, Hood, Sabonis

The Trail Blazers may be considering a Disabled Player Exception for Festus Ezeli, according to Oliver Maroney of Basketball Insiders. Today is the deadline to apply to the league for a DPE, and NBA officials would have to agree that Ezeli’s injury will keep him out for the rest of the season. The 27-year-old center hasn’t played since signing a two-year, $15MM deal with Portland over the summer. He had offseason surgery on his left knee, but wasn’t able to do more than a couple of practices before it started hurting again. Ezeli said last month that another operation, which would sideline him for the rest of the season, might be necessary to save his career. If the DPE is approved, the Blazers would be granted half of Ezeli’s cap hit to sign a free agent or to use in a trade.

There’s more this morning from the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz star Gordon Hayward might be tempted to reunite with former college coach Brad Stevens in Boston, but Utah will be able to make a substantially better offer when he becomes a free agent this summer, writes Randy Hollis of The Deseret News. The Jazz can offer Hayward a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $180MM, while other teams will be limited to $132MM over four seasons. Another option for Hayward is to sign with Utah for one year and hope to make the All-NBA team, which would make him eligible for the new Designated Veteran Player status and a $235MM deal over six seasons. Hollis thinks the Jazz can improve their chances with Hayward by re-signing George Hill, who has become an effective complement to Hayward.
  • Rodney Hood will be re-evaluated today after suffering a hyperextended right knee late in Saturday’s game, the Jazz tweeted. He had to be helped off the court after the knee buckled on a drive to the basket. “Hopefully it’s not serious,” coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s serious enough that he had to leave the game, but we don’t know when he’ll be back.”
  • The Thunder are urging rookie forward Domantas Sabonis to shoot fewer 3-pointers, relays Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. That was the plan even before a recent shooting slump in which he has missed 18 of his last 19 shots from long distance. “What I don’t want to see him just become is just a stretch four, a guy that’s just shooting 3s,” said coach Billy Donovan. “We’ve got to be able to utilize his ability to handle the ball and pass, his ability to play with his back to the basket. And certainly face up and shoot the basketball when it’s there.”

Jazz Exercise 2017/18 Options On Hood, Exum, Lyles

The Jazz have exercised three team options for 2017/18 well in advance of next Monday’s deadline, announcing today in a press release that they’ve picked up fourth-year options for Rodney Hood and Dante Exum, as well as Trey Lyles‘ third-year option.

Hood, who turned 24 last week, took a nice step forward in his second year with the Jazz, averaging 14.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.0 3PG while starting 79 games for the team. He’s expected to continue playing a major role in the rotation, particularly with Gordon Hayward out to start the season. His fourth-year option is worth just $2.387MM.

Exum’s fourth-year option is more expensive, at $4.992MM, and he’s coming off a lost season, having missed the 2015/16 campaign due to a torn ACL. However, he’s still just 21 years old, and Utah has high hopes for his future. He’ll see time at point guard behind probable starter George Hill.

As for Lyles, he’s heading into his second year, so the Jazz will have one more team option decision to make on him next year, for the 2018/19 season. In his lone season with the Jazz, Lyles averaged 6.1 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 80 games. His third-year option for 2017/18 will pay him $2.441MM.

Check out the full list of team option decisions for 2017/18 right here.

Grizzlies Notes: Coaching Search, Joerger, Conley

Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be part of a long list of candidates to replace Dave Joerger, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Tillery expects the Grizzlies to reach out to veteran coaches David Blatt, Brian Shaw, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. GM Chris Wallace promised a “thoughtful and comprehensive” process, adding that there is no rush to find a replacement. He plans to consider college coaches as well as NBA assistants. “We don’t have a guy,” Wallace said. “We’ll talk to people and see how it goes. It’s not about dealing from a pre-existing category. It’s about finding the right guy. We’re very much in the preliminary stages.” Tillery writes that “reshaping” the team, which the front office didn’t believe Joerger was willing to do, will be among the responsibilities for the next coach.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • Wallace’s call for stability in the organization is laughable, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal, pointing out that in the past four years, the Grizzlies have been through an ownership change, two GM changes and two coaching changes. Joerger had been expressing his unhappiness in subtle ways throughout the season, Calkins notes, and felt betrayed when Jeff Green and Courtney Lee were dealt away at the trade deadline. Joerger also said the roster was “old and slow” and repeatedly praised Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, whom the Grizzlies passed over in the draft. Calkins questions whether free agent point guard Mike Conley will want to re-sign with an organization that has seen so much turnover.
  • The Grizzlies may not have enough to offer on the free agent market, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Memphis must decide by June 29th whether to pick up a $9.4MM option for next season on Lance Stephenson. If the Grizzlies keep him and all their other contracts while renouncing Matt Barnes and Chris Andersen, they will have about $60MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at more than $90MM. However, Conley carries a $14MM cap hold, which means money must be cut in other areas for the team to offer a max contract. Vince Carter and JaMychal Green are possibilities, as they both have contracts that won’t be guaranteed until January. Brandan Wright and his $5.7MM deal could be traded to clear more room. Dowsett speculates about Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Gerald Henderson and Leandro Barbosa as possible free agent targets.

Southwest Notes: Gasol, Joerger, Pachulia

Pau Gasol once more finds the idea of joining the Spurs intriguing, as he said to the Marca newspaper in his native Spain (translation via HoopsHype). Marc Gasol, who’s under contract with the Grizzlies for at least another three years, this week curiously advised his brother to sign with San Antonio. The Spurs were among the teams Pau Gasol reportedly considered when he was a free agent two years ago. The new Creative Artists Agency client has a player option with the Bulls for next season, but it’s worth less than $7.77MM and he’s long said he’ll likely turn it down, and chances of a new deal in Chicago appear to be waning.

See more from the Southwest Division:

  • The idea that the Timberwolves considered Dave Joerger for the coaching job that’s since gone to Tom Thibodeau simply wasn’t true, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Any would-be path to Minnesota for Joerger vanished when former coach/executive Flip Saunders died, Tillery writes. The Commercial Appeal scribe expects Joerger to seek an extension with the Grizzlies as he heads into next season, the last one that’s guaranteed on his existing deal.
  • Joerger pushed hard for the team to draft Rodney Hood two years ago, when the Grizzlies selected Jordan Adams instead, as Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com details amid a larger piece on the team. Despite the way Hood, a 36% 3-point shooter, has blossomed for the Jazz, Grizzlies executive Ed Stefanski rejects the notion that the front office hasn’t looked for shooting. “Of course we want shooters,” Stefanski said. “An ‘oh, [expletive]’ shooter would be a helluva weapon for us, but they’re not easily had. It makes me laugh when people act like we’re ignoring shooters. You think we’re not looking?”
  • Soon-to-be free agent Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia wishes he had a lifetime contract and doesn’t understand why more players don’t choose to play in Dallas, observes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News“It’s my first year for me being here so I don’t exactly know what happened previously,” Pachulia said. “But the one thing, whoever will come here and play for this team and this organization would love it. Very few percentage of the players — very few — wouldn’t like it. The city, the fans, the organization, the personality and the heart. This team is all about winning. So if you are a winner definitely this is the place to be.”
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