Rodney Hood Clears the Air on His Rumored Refusal to Play in Game 4

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Rodney Hood spoke with reporters on Thursday to address reports that he refused to check into Game 4 in the fourth quarter. The Athletic reports that Hood was told by Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to get onto the court with 7:38 remaining and his team up by 30 points, but he refused, which led to Jose Calderon coming into the game instead.

According to the Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies, Hood has already apologized to Lue for the way he handled the situation. Earlier today, Hood delivered his side of the story to the media, explaining that his refusal to enter the game had more to do with getting teammate Jose Calderon some playing time than his disinterest in stepping onto the court in a blowout.

“It was the end of the game, seven minutes to go, and I saw we had bodies, you know. Jose [Calderon] wanted to go in, and I told them, ‘Just let Jose play.’ But, you know, I should have just went in, there wouldn’t have been no confusion,” Hood explained. “Obviously, I should have known since I didn’t play throughout the duration of the game it was going to look bad, but it wasn’t as people are trying to make it. Next time I’m definitely going to go in. I apologized to T. Lue for any confusion and stuff like that.”

When asked if he refused to play in Game 4, Hood reiterated his intention to let Calderon get some minutes. He did acknowledge that he “should have took it more serious, went in there, got some reps up.”

Hood has struggled to get it going in the playoffs so far, averaging 4.6 points per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 13.3 percent from three-point range. However, Hood can start off on a blank slate on Sunday when the Cavs begin their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics in Boston. 

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Isaiah Thomas Says Cavs ‘Were in Panic Mode’ When They Traded Him

Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas has a simple explanation for the blockbuster February trade that resulted in him getting swapped for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

“It’s a business,” Thomas told ESPN during an interview for the network’s E:60 program. “And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing—a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”

Thomas and Channing Frye were shipped to the Lakers, while the Cavs acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a separate three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. The flurry of trades that saw the Cavs trade six players and a draft pick to bring in four new additions came shortly after the team posted a 6-12 record from Christmas through February 3.

A large portion of the blame fell on Thomas, who only logged 15 games with the Cavs after spending a significant portion of the season rehabbing from a hip injury. As the losses piled up, he reportedly called out Kevin Love, questioned his teammates’ effort, and implied the coaching staff failed to make adjustments. He also found himself on the wrong end of a hilarious meme.

“People don’t put in there that we had eight or nine new players,” Thomas added. “So it was basically a brand new team…I’m in a new system—new team, new coach, new players. And then I’ve been off for seven months. So I got to get—individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back.”

Much like Thomas, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman has since conceded that the 2017 trade that initially brought Thomas to Cleveland while shipping Kyrie Irving to Boston was a bust.

“Did it fit? Did it work? Probably not,” Altman told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shortly after trading Thomas and Frye to Los Angeles. “So with those pieces, we decided to shuffle the deck and get younger and get some youthful talent with energy and enthusiasm.”

Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting after the 2016-2017 season, and many around the league believe he’ll use his time with the rebuilding Lakers as an audition for a larger contract.

“Hopefully I’m here long term, you know, with me being a free agent this summer,” Thomas said. “But if I’m not, these last 25 games I’m going to play my heart out and show the Lakers why I should be here long term.”

Thomas’ full E:60 interview is scheduled to air March 11.

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Atlanta Hawks Fans Yell Savage Chant to Cavs: ‘LeBron Will Leave You’

Atlanta Hawks fans are ruthless. During last night's game, the Hawks crowd taunted the Cleveland Cavaliers by chanting “LeBron will leave you” and “LeBron will trade you.”

Of course, the taunts come after Cleveland basically became a new team at the trade deadline. The Cavaliers gave Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings; Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz; Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat; and Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers. In exchange, they got George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and Rodney Hood on their squad. Tristan Thompson and Jeff Green managed to stick around, though, and Atlanta made sure to give them crap for it.

After last night's game, James explained the decision process behind the multiple trades.

“It's not about what the other guys didn't bring or what these guys bring,” said James at the press conference, according to ESPN. “We're all professionals, and we were happy with the guys that we had, and we're going to [be] happy with the guys that we have now. That's the way the league is, it's a business. There's no shade on anybody.”

The Cavaliers are spending February trying to get back on track after crawling their way out of the Finals conversation last month. At the very least, they're better than Atlanta: The Cavaliers handily beat the Hawks, 123-107.

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This Was Kyrie Irving’s Reaction to the Cavaliers’ Massive Roster Overhaul

Most people expected the Cavaliers to shake things up at the NBA trade deadline on Thursday and make one or two moves to improve their roster as they prepare to head into the second half of the 2017-18 NBA season. But most people didn’t expect them to go as far as they did.

Just hours before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers orchestrated a series of moves that saw them trade away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder—in addition to a couple draft picks—in exchange for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood. Cleveland will have a completely different lineup when they take the court to play against the Hawks on Friday night, and they’re hoping it will help them get out of the rut they’ve been stuck in for most of the last month.

In the aftermath of all the action involving the Cavaliers at the trade deadline, there were quite a few people who wondered what Kyrie Irving’s reaction to the whole thing must have been. The Cavaliers essentially parted way with the two players (Thomas and Crowder) they got in exchange for him last summer. They also looked like a team desperate to improve their current situation in a hurry. So many speculated about what Irving’s response to the whole thing would be and used memes to make their best guesses.

But what was Irving’s real reaction? As it turns out, a whole lot less exciting than the memes might have suggested. On Thursday night, Irving scored 28 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists in a 110-104 Celtics’ overtime win over the Wizards.

And after the game, he was asked to provide a response to the trades the Cavaliers pulled off earlier in the day. Irving took a few seconds to collect his thoughts and looked like he might have something to say about them. But then, he hit reporters with a slight shrug before matter-of-factly saying, “I’m in Boston.”

We doubt those are Irving’s only thoughts on the situation. But for now, that’s the only reaction he has. Stay tuned to see if he has more to say after LeBron James and the Cavaliers play Irving and the Celtics on Sunday afternoon.

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