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Rodney Hood's bet on himself sets up most important season of career

Rodney Hood's bet on himself sets up most important season of career
Published On: Wed, Oct 10
Mar 13, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) dunks the ball against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA game at Sleep Train Arena. The Jazz defeated the Kings 108-99. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017-18 regular season began exactly the way Rodney Hood envisioned.

In his fourth season in Utah, the swingman was thrust into a bigger role. Expected to help fill the void after Gordon Hayward's departure, Hood was about to get every crack at solidifying his spot in Utah's long-term plans and earning the robust contract he had been working toward for years. It was also the perfect platform to reboundA from a postseason flop.

Months later, the ground beneath him started to shake and he could never regain his footing.

"It started off as one of my better seasons since I've been in the league and then in the playoffs not playing for the first time, getting DNPs, not playing to my full potential and trying to figure everything out, it was just tough," Hood told

The summer didn't get any easier.

In late June, the Cavs extended a qualifying offer to Hood, making him a restricted free agent and allowing them to match any offer Hood received from another team.

Hood's agent went out in search of a lucrative offer sheet but it never came. All the while, Hood waited patiently and paid close attention to the market -- not with unrestricted free agents but guys positioned the same from his draft class.

He watched Julius Randle get his qualifying offer rescinded, allowing him to join the New Orleans Pelicans on a two-year deal. He noticed Zach LaVine, coming off a significant knee injury, was able to land a massive $78 million offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings that was eventually matched by the Bulls. Kyle Anderson, taken seven picks later than Hood in the 2014 NBA Draft and with lower career numbers, found a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Marcus Smart cemented a four-year, $52 million contract. Jabari Parker, Hood's college teammate, cashed in with Chicago after the Bucks rescinded his offer.

"I was happy for them for one because I know those guys," Hood said. "Jabari is like a brother to me and I know Marcus -- we came in the league together. So I'm happy for them getting money and stuff like that. But I had to understand restricted free agency. At first, it was hard because I really didn't. And I was thinking, 'All right, he got paid and I was supposed to.'"

But as Hood finally realized, it doesn't always work that way. A team's cap situation matters. So do a variety of other factors. Restricted free agency can get complicated.

Read the complete news article here...

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