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Cavaliers extend offer to Hood, pick up option on Perkins

By JOE VARDON • Jun 28, 2018 at 8:15 AM

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers will extend a $3.4 million qualifying offer to Rodney Hood and make him a restricted free agent, league sources told cleveland.com.

The Cavs had until the end of the day Friday to make the offer. If it hasn't gone out yet, it will. The move means Cleveland can match any offer Hood receives from another team.

Hood, 25, is one of two free agents the Cavs can pay more than $5.3 million to sign. The other is LeBron James. Cleveland traded for Hood on Feb. 8 as part of a roster-reshaping effort by general manager Koby Altman; the trade allows the Cavs to pay him beyond the veteran's minimum or the team's mid-level exception to the salary cap.

Hood is averaging 13 points and three rebounds in four pro seasons — mostly with the Utah Jazz. He was having a career year before the Jazz shipped him to the Cavs (for Jae Crowder, as part of a three-team trade), averaging 16.8 points.

When Hood arrived on the Cavs, he averaged 10.8 points during the regular season and struggled mightily during the playoffs, to the point he fell out of coach Tyronn Lue's rotation.

Most NBA insiders said Hood cost himself lots of money with his postseason struggles, limiting the contract offers he might get this summer (he averaged 5.4 points, shot .167 from 3, and his plus-minus of minus-93 was the worst of the playoffs). But Hood rejoined the rotation for the last two games of the Finals, and the Cavs view him as a part of their future, a source said.

Even without James, the Cavs are over the league's projected $101 million cap, and can't be expected to make a big splash in free agency — which starts Sunday.

In addition to their mid-level exception ($5.3 million), the Cavs also have a trade exception of about $5.8 million.

Altman has made it clear he wants to see how his young roster, with Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and new draft pick Collin Sexton matures with a full season together — a season that would be all the more fruitful if James chooses to return as a free agent.

James must decide on his $35.6 million option on his contract with the Cavs for next season by Friday at 11:59 p.m.

The Cavs' plan entering the draft and free agency was to build for the future in a way they thought would appeal to James — who they say can take all the time he needs to make his decision.

"I think LeBron has more than earned the right to approach his contracts the way he does," Altman said last week. "He's done that before, so this is nothing new for us. We want to respect his space during this process and I continue to have really good dialogue with his management team as he goes through that process."

Cavaliers pick up option on Perkins

As expected, the Cavaliers picked up a $2.4 million contract option for veteran center Kendrick Perkins to use him as a trade piece.

In May, cleveland.com reported the Cavs' intention to do just this — turn the lucrative contract option they created for this 33-year-old big man who hasn't really played in the NBA in two years into a trade chip.

If the Cavs can't build a trade with Perkins' contract, they can simply waive him before his contract is guaranteed.

They aren't going to get anything of real value for Perkins alone, and they can't add his contract to their $5.8 million trade exception in any deal, but they can add his contract to someone else's to net a large contract in return.

The Cavs are working on possible trades to upgrade their roster without tearing up a young corps and maybe entice LeBron James to return. They've discussed a trade for Kawhi Leonard with San Antonio for Kevin Love that didn't get anywhere, and have also either fielded offers for and are sending out feelers for deals involving JR Smith, among others, sources said.

ESPN reported Wednesday that the Cavs formally exercised the option on Perkins' contract. Cleveland.com reported that the Cavs extended a $3.4 million qualifying offer to Rodney Hood to make him a restricted free agent, which means Cleveland can match any offer he receives on the open market.

Perkins didn't play at all in the postseason for the Cavs and appeared in the final game of the regular season for his first NBA game since 2016. Cleveland added him to its postseason locker room for veteran leadership away from the court.

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