While the Trail Blazers get to deal with Aaron Gordon in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, it appears the former Orlando Magic forward was nearly dealt to Portland rather than Denver.
After defeating the Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round series, Gordon seemingly confirmed the Blazers were one of the suitors trying to trade for him but he was unclear on the timeframe of the talks.
"[The Blazers] were in the mix," said Gordon. "I don't know if [the talks were] over the summertime or the very beginning of the season."
Jared Weiss and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported league sources told them Portland and Orlando were "at the finish line" for a deal surrounding Aaron Gordon last offseason before the Magic backed out. The Blazers used a similar package, two first-round picks, to land Robert Covington instead.
However, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Portland was still one of the primary suitors for Gordon heading into the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline.
Gordon, 25, had spent his entire seven-year NBA career in Orlando before being traded to Denver. Orlando received 2020 first-round pick RJ Hampton, Gary Harris and a protected 2025 first-round pick for Gordon, who is under contract through 2022 and is owed $18.1M this season and $16.4M next season.
"I'm extremely happy where I am," added Gordon. "I'm here for a reason and this is where I should be. It's a beautiful thing, how it worked out."
The Blazers traded Gary Trent Jr. for Norman Powell to be the team's starting small forward instead.
Portland has been linked to Gordon partially due to Damian Lillard reportedly being a large fan of his.
"Dame's from the Bay, he's from Oakland so I grew up watching Damian play against my brother," said Gordon.
"Just seeing him in passing, at gyms, as a young boy... I have a relationship with Dame just from knowing him back in the day and talking to him over the years."
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report had also reported an agreement between the Magic and Timberwolves was apparently about to be finalized in early February. It was a deal that involved swapping Gordon for Ricky Rubio and draft capital. When Gordon went down with a nasty ankle sprain in January, it derailed the deal.