Cleveland • The Jazz have made two trades with the Cavaliers in recent months. Neither guy who went from Salt Lake City to Cleveland apparently saw it coming.
That said, neither apparently has any hard feelings about it, either.
Before Friday’s game, both Rodney Hood — dealt at last season’s trade deadline — and Alec Burks — who was traded this past November — spoke of their eagerness to face their former team, but not out of any revenge scenario.
“Approach it the same. Try to go out and get a win. Play as hard as possible,” Hood said of his approach. “I know they’re a good team, but it will be good to see some familiar faces, guys I consider my family. It will be good to talk a little trash. Just have fun with the game but try to get a win also.”
Both players said having a familiar face around now has made it easier.
“AB was a guy, when I first came into the league, he was the starter. He was one of the best players. He had just signed his deal, and then, unfortunately, he got some injuries,” Hood said. “But just seeing him healthy again has been good, just seeing a familiar face. We was good friends in Utah and it’s extended [now] — my family, his family, they’re friends. So it’s been good.”
Burks said that Hood already being in Cleveland helped ease him in, because they had remained friends even after the first trade.
“I don’t think it stopped. I seen him after he got traded a couple times and we had the group chat, I talked to him,” Burks said. “Being around him every day like I was in Utah, that’s pretty much the difference.”
And while each said he was excited to get to see former teammates again, that didn’t mean they intended to take it easy on them.
“There’s a couple teammates I want to score on, just because I know them,” Burks said.
Hood was even more exuberant at the prospect.
“I’m dunking [on] Rudy,” he said with a laugh. “I’m sure he will be excited [for us] to try, too; me and AB used to go at him every day in practice, and he used to block our shots.”
Burks finished with 17 points, and Hood had 12.
Afterward, Jazz center Rudy Gobert let it be known he still had ultimate bragging rights.
“It was fun. I heard one of them was supposedly gonna dunk on me. I’ve been hearing that for six years and it’s never happened!” he said.