Utah Jazz: ‘Growing belief’ that Rodney Hood could be on the move

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 17: Rodney Hood #5 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 17, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 17: Rodney Hood #5 of the Utah Jazz looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 17, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A recent report from The New York Times’ Marc Stein that was confirmed by ESPN’s Zach Lowe has heightened speculation that the Utah Jazz could be looking to deal Rodney Hood.

I made a big mistake yesterday morning when I thought to myself that NBA trade rumor season had slowed a bit. Just moments after that idea crossed my mind, word broke that Kemba Walker was on the trade block, then later that the Cleveland Cavaliers were interested in George Hill and a number of other rumors followed.

And one of those pieces of chatter that hit the web was relating directly to the Utah Jazz and centered on Rodney Hood.

Marc Stein of The New York Times had the following to report:

Hood had been mentioned as a potential trade piece here and there prior to this announcement, but this seems a lot more forward than anything else we’ve seen to date. Rodney certainly isn’t untouchable, so Utah’s willingness to move him doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but considering how much several local reporters have seemed to bring up the Jazz’s high hopes for Hood’s future, this development is somewhat a departure from the expected.

Given that multiple teams are reportedly expressing interest, I would imagine that the Jazz will be more than willing to at least consider their options and see what they may be able to get in return for Hood. What’s most worrisome about the young guard is that he may command a higher salary in restricted free agency than the Jazz feel comfortable paying a player who’s struggled to be a real difference-maker, so in that regard it would make sense for the Jazz to trade him away rather than let him walk for nothing this summer.

What makes this all the more interesting is that even ESPN’s Zach Lowe, a typically reliable source especially regarding the Jazz, quoted Stein’s tweet and added this input:

That tipped the scale for me that something truly could be afoot regarding Rodney Hood and Utah’s willingness to trade him. Even if they don’t, this stands as further indication that the Jazz are probably going to be active at the deadline.

I still don’t necessarily believe this all means that Hood is guaranteed to be on his way out as you can bet that the Jazz will want a decent return before giving up prematurely on such a young, talented player. Nevertheless, it’s quite clear that Utah’s roster is in need of some significant shake-up, so perhaps shipping Rodney out to make those changes will prove beneficial and worthwhile for the Jazz.

Interestingly enough, these announcements came on the heels of the release of Utah’s starting lineup for the game last night which included Rodney Hood for the first time since early in the season. Hood had largely been replaced by Donovan Mitchell as a starter, but in last night’s contest against the New York Knicks, Hood started at the three in place of Joe Ingles.

Perhaps the two items are completely unrelated, but particularly with some questionable rotations in a less than stirring performance against the Knicks last night, one can’t help but wonder if the Jazz are more focused on posturing themselves to make a move than they are to win now with the current lineup.

That’s purely speculation on my part, but considering that the Jazz are typically very quiet around the trade deadline, but that there’s been a lot of noise so far this year, makes it feel as if something is truly brewing in Jazz land. Combine that with the seemingly odd rotations and a clear need to get some assets in return for expiring contracts and I think it’s very much possible that we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg on Jazz trade rumors.

With Hood potentially on the block per Stein and Lowe’s reports and guys like Joe Johnson and Derrick Favors more than likely being pieces the Jazz will want to move, at this point I’ll be absolutely shocked if Utah doesn’t make some sort of trade leading up to the deadline. Names like Nikola Mirotic, Evan Fournier, even Kemba Walker all of a sudden have been swirling around in relation to the Jazz and each has a case as a great fit in Utah.

Maybe this will be the year that the Jazz finally pull the trigger on some substantial transactions.

Next: Rodney Hood didn’t finish game vs. Knicks due to apparent leg injury

It’s all speculation and hearsay for now, but this latest announcement regarding Utah’s willingness to move Rodney Hood certainly made trade season all the more intriguing for Utah Jazz fans. Whatever ends up happening, it’s looking like the roster could look significantly different following the February 8th deadline.

I can hardly wait to see what the future holds.