The Cavs were crushing the Raptors by 30 points and in a celebratory mode in the 4th quarter. LeBron and the Cavs had easily vanquished the Raptors again, so it was time to give the starters some rest with a little over seven minutes left in the game. Everything was just fine except Rodney Hood, who had struggled during the series, refused to check into the game according to The Athletic.
When the Cavs called a timeout with a 30-point lead and 7:38 left Monday, (Tyronn) Lue tried inserting Hood for (LeBron) James. It was a great opportunity for a struggling youngster to try to find his rhythm without any pressure before the next series. Instead, Hood refused to go in, multiple sources confirmed. A number of veterans huddled around him during the timeout and tried talking sense into him, but Hood still refused to go, so Jose Calderon subbed into the game instead. Hood dressed quickly and was one of the first players out of the locker room after the game.
Hood’s teammates were baffled and tried to talk some sense into him, but according to sources Hood didn’t want to hear it and did not enter the game in the fourth quarter.
“This is the playoffs,” an anonymous Cleveland player said. “We’re trying to win a championship. This isn’t about you.”
Rodney Hood ended up being the only Cleveland player that did not play in the series-clinching blowout of Toronto. This type of dysfunction comes at the absolute worst time for Cleveland as they will face tougher matchups as they attempt to reach the NBA Finals again. Cavs general manager Koby Altman plans to meet with Hood to discuss his behavior and allow him to explain his actions. A suspension could be in play for the soon to be restricted free agent, which could impact how he is viewed by teams during the free agent period.