Aaron Gordon isn’t quite as emotional about leaving Orlando as Nikola Vucevic is.
His words from his introductory presser in Denver should come as no surprise considering he did request a trade out of Orlando, didn’t deny it publicly when asked, and then ultimately got his wish.
Still, his words won’t fit well with Magic fans following what was an outpouring of emotion by Vucevic on Saturday when asked about the emotions of leaving Orlando. Gordon’s response was quite the opposite.
“It’s just a huge relief to be part of a great organization,” he told reporters. “I’m just happy that I found a new home. It was tough. I was just so ready to pick up my phone from my agent. So any call I would get regardless of who it was, I was thinking I was being traded.”
That call came on Thursday, sending Gordon to Denver, which was apparently one of his top destinations...
“Being able to play meaningful games just allows me to go all out every night,” Gordon said. “Expect nothing less than a win and that expectation and that pressure is something that I love. It’s something that I’m looking forward to being a part of.”
That first part of the quote might cut deepest because it suggests he didn’t go all out at times when in Orlando, where meaningful games during his tenure were few and far between.
Gordon was asked what it is about joining the Nuggets that most excites him.
“I think it’s just the level of the organization, the culture of the basketball, the offensive and defensive schemes,” he said. “I feel like it really fits my style of play, being able to cut, being able to run out, being able to spot up. Defensively I get to lock in and really help some of the best offensive players in the league. I think I just found a really good fit here.”
Gordon and the Magic never were the greatest fit for one another, with the Magic surrounding Gordon with players of redundant skill sets and Gordon never showing true consistency or the ability to reach the next level.
He was asked how much a change of scenery will help him.
“I think a lot,” he said. “A lot has to do with the team element, and the pieces, the coaching staff, the organization. I think the style of play fits me a lot better. And I think I can help a lot of the guys out around here just with my play as well. I think I’m gonna benefit just from getting a restart and just refreshing with a new coach and some new players.”
The Magic also get a restart, and to be fair, most fans weren’t exactly broken-hearted to move on from Gordon at this stage. Probably even less so now with Chuma Okeke having set a new career high in consecutive games.
Gordon said he didn’t have much input on where he wanted to be traded, adding that it was between a couple of teams and he thinks Denver is “easily the best fit.”
“I don’t think its going to take me long to get up to speed,” Gordon said. “I’ve been playing in the league for seven years. I’ve seen a lot of different coaches in my time in Orlando. Two of the coaches were actually my coaches in Orlando in Wes (Unseld Jr.) and DA (David Adelman). So I think that line of communication is going to be open. I think the schemes, and some of the communication, and just the verbiage, take the longest to get there. But as far as playing, I have an idea of how we want to play and I’m going to do my best to bring something to the table.”
Josh Robbins of The Athletic asked Gordon what a team going through a rebuild like the Magic has to do to put players in the best position.
“They just have to stick to the plan,” Gordon said. “A rebuild is important to have a plan and follow it all the way through...Not to change concepts and change plans from year to year. Just got to stick to one type of process and follow that up.”
Funny coming from a player who was one of the earliest pieces of the Magic’s original rebuilding plan.