Cavaliers' Rodney Hood reportedly refused to enter Game 4 for garbage time

Much to the annoyance of his teammates, Cleveland Cavaliers wing Rodney Hood refused to enter Game 4 when coach Tyronn Lue tapped him for mop-up duty midway through the fourth quarter of a blowout and closeout win over the visiting Toronto Raptors, according to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd.

Why didn’t Hood want to play?

After seeing his minutes dwindle from 25 per game during the regular season to an average of 15 over the previous seven games, Hood fell out of the rotation on Monday, losing his spot to rookie Cedi Osman. “Rodney, he could be better,” Lue said before Game 4, according to Lloyd. “He knows that.”

So, when Lue pegged him for garbage time with 7:38 remaining and the Cavaliers leading 110-80, Hood reportedly refused to fill that role, and the Cavaliers turned to veteran Jose Calderon to close it out.

Lue had good reason to sit Hood, who entered the game averaging 4.6 points on 40 percent shooting. He’s 2-for-15 from 3-point range in the postseason and a team-worst minus-67 in 170 playoff minutes. Maybe he could have used the garbage time to work out those kinks, but he was apparently stewing.

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NBA playoffs: The best photos from Round 2
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 01: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a three-point basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 1, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 01: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball as Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Toronto Raptors defends in the second half of Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on May 1, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot against Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during Game One in Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 117-101. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after hitting a three point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter of Game One of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- MAY 3 - Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) dunks as the Toronto Raptors play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the NBA playoffs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. May 3, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 3: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics goes to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 06: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz goes to the basket under the defense of James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets in the second half during Game Four of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rockets beat the Jazz 100-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 05: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers hits the game winning shot over the outstretched hand of OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors to win Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals 105-103 during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 5, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 7: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers gets into an altercation with Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics as Jayson Tatum #0 and Marcus Morris #13 of the Boston Celtics and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers try to break them up in the second quarter during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 7, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 05: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates his game winning shot with Kevin Love #0 next to Serge Ibaka #9 of the Toronto Raptors during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 5, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
May 7, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drive for a loose ball during the second quarter in game four of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
May 5, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) stands on the scorer's table after hitting the final shot to win the game against the Toronto Raptors in game three of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 08: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans goes up for a dunk on Quinn Cook #4, Kevon Looney #5, and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 8, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 9: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot over T.J. McConnell #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 9, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 114-112 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
May 9, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) reacts after scoring against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half in game five of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
May 8, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) passes the basketball against Golden State Warriors forward David West (3) and guard Shaun Livingston (34) during the first quarter in game five of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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How do his teammates feel about it?

On the broadcast, J.R. Smith could be seen talking to Hood outside the huddle, and Smith is shown talking to LeBron James on the bench soon afterwards. After the game, multiple sources told Lloyd that both players and team personnel were upset with Hood, who quickly departed the locker room.

“This is the playoffs. We’re trying to win a championship,” one anonymous Cavaliers player told Lloyd. “This isn’t about you.”

Obviously, this doesn’t bode well going forward for Hood’s relationship with his teammates, all of whom he’s only been playing with since joining the team in a trade deadline deal this past February.

What now for Hood?

In the short-term, Hood faces a fine or suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, Lloyd posited, but at the very least you would expect him to remain out of the rotation for the foreseeable future.

In the long-term, Hood will become a restricted free agent this summer. The Cavaliers can match any offer he receives on the open market, but you wonder how many teams will be willing to pay up for a player who has underperformed in the playoffs for two years running and is now refusing to play. Even at an affordable rate, you also have to wonder if the Cavs will want to keep him around after this.

Still, Hood is a 25-year-old who was once thought to be in line for a hefty raise when he emerged as a scoring threat on a 50-win Utah Jazz team last season, and the Cavaliers gave up a significant piece — the two-plus years remaining on Jae Crowder’s team-friendly contract — to get him in Cleveland.

Is there any other possible explanation?

Hood missed games multiple times down the stretch with a lower back strain and a sore left Achilles, but Lloyd reported that “according to multiple people who witnessed the exchange, this had nothing to do with stiffness and everything to do with a young player pouting.” Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman will reportedly meet with Hood in an attempt to get Hood’s perspective on the matter.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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