Sports

Nuggets plan to continue excluding Aaron Gordon from team dinners amid playoff winning streak

The second round of the NBA playoffs got off to a rough start for the defending champion Denver Nuggets. The Minnesota Timberwolves, led by two-time NBA All-Star Anthony Edwards, won the first two games in the Western Conference semifinals.

The series shifted to Minnesota for Game 3 and Game 4, where the Nuggets overcame the hostile environment and got back on the winning track. The Nuggets pushed their winning streak to three games when they cruised to a 112-97 victory in Game 5.

Shortly after Denver fell behind in the series, the team decided to have a players-only dinner. The Nuggets have not lost a playoff game since the dinners began. But one player — Aaron Gordon — has been noticeably absent from the team dinners.

Aaron Gordon plays against the Nets

Aaron Gordon of the Denver Nuggets dribbles during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center Dec. 22, 2023, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The team plans to continue with the players-only meals — minus Gordon — for at least the remainder of the conference semifinals.

But Gordon seems to have an understanding of why he is being left out and is taking it in stride.

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“DJ, y’all going to team dinner?” Gordon asked teammate DeAndre Jordan in the locker room after the team’s Game 5 win. Jordan organized the dinners.

“Yeah — not you though,” Jordan responded via The Athletic. “We’ll see you next round (of the playoffs). Sorry, dawg. We’ll bring you some takeout though.”

Aaron Gordon celebrates during a game

Aaron Gordon of the Denver Nuggets celebrates a 3-pointer against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center Dec. 12, 2023, in Chicago. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

“I understand,” Gordon said. “I understand.”

The first team dinner was at a steakhouse in Minneapolis and was considered an opportunity for the team to bond afterr a disappointing start against the Timberwolves.

Aaron Gordon plays against the Warriors

Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Ball Arena in Denver, Colo., Dec. 25, 2023. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Gordon missed the dinner after Game 2, deciding some retail therapy would be beneficial.

“I bought some three-wheel cars for my family,” Gordon told The Athletic. “A little retail therapy. They’re called Vanderhalls. They’re really dope. I went in looking to buy just one. But generosity, and just having a little bit of fun, helped.”

The Timberwolves host the Nuggets in Game 6.

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