Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert out for Game 2 after birth of child

DENVER >> Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is out for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday in Denver after he became a father earlier in the day.

Gobert — who’s likely to be announced as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday — was in Minnesota on Monday morning when his fiancé delivered his first baby boy.

He did note to the Deseret News back in March that he would potentially miss a playoff game in the time span between the conference semifinals and the NBA Finals if his child was born.

“I would do anything I can to be there (for the birth),” Gobert told the Deseret News. “I don’t think there’s any debate to have. Coach Finch and every guy in this locker room, that’s what I love about them, we have a level of human connection and empathy for one another that I think is really good. And I think all the guys will be literally telling me, ‘Don’t play, go.’”

Timberwolves’ guard Anthony Edwards missed the second half of a regular season game this year for the birth of his child, while current Wolves guard Mike Conley left the NBA bubble in 2020 to witness the birth of his child.

Finch noted 90 minutes before Monday’s contest there was “consideration” to have Gobert return to Denver in an attempt to play in Game 2. High winds — hanging steadily above 20 miles per hour, with gusts reaching above 50 miles per hour — in the Denver area delayed the landings and takeoffs of flights throughout the day in the area, likely preventing Gobert from being able to fly in on a private jet in time for the contest.

“You look at the timing of it all, the timing of his circumstances, plus some weather made it really tough,” Finch said. “It didn’t feel like he was going to be able to get here and be prepared to play.”

Awards season

The Defensive Player of the Year award winner will be announced on TNT at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The finalists for that award are all centers: Gobert, Miami’s Bam Adebayo and San Antonio rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Gobert is the heavy favorite to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year honor.

The NBA’s Social Justice Champion will be announced at 11 a.m. Thursday. Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is a finalist for that honor, along with New OrleansCJ McCollum, Oklahoma City’s Lindy Waters, the ClippersRussell Westbrook and Adebayo.

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