Who would have thought that Danilo Gallinari would be a big name in NBA free agency? That is the case here in 2020 with a thin class available. At age 32, Gallinari could get another big payday but that is not first on his list.
Danilo Gallinari has made it clear that he wants to win a championship. He is entering the later years of his career and winning a ring is the most important thing. Not to mention that he has made some good money throughout his career. The 2020 season was the final year of a three-year, $64.7 million deal that Gallinari signed with the Denver Nuggets. In 2019, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the massive deal that sent Paul George to Los Angeles.
Aside from his play on the floor, Danilo Gallinari showed durability this season. He has dealt with injuries over the course of his career but was able to remain healthy this season. Gallinari averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds this season. He shot 40.5% from three-point range and 89.3% from the free throw line. Gallinari has a tremendous skillset that would fit in perfectly on a team looking to win.
A championship contender would benefit from adding a veteran like Danilo Gallinari. The Thunder will be looking to rebuild so re-signing a 32-year old small forward might not be in their plans. When Gallinari hits the open market, here are three teams that should be interested right away.
3. Golden State Warriors
If Danilo Gallinari is serious about taking a pay cut to win, there is no better place than the Golden State Warriors.
It seems as though the Warriors have been forgotten about. The Lakers might be penciled in as the favorites for the 2021 season but the Warriors will say not so fast. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be back healthy. Draymond Green is still on the roster and the franchise holds the No. 2 overall pick. They could choose to use it or trade down for more picks or another player.
Danilo Gallinari coming off the bench for the Warriors would be special. He would bring a veteran voice on and off the floor along with scoring ability. He can put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the floor. Gallinari would act as a spark as sixth man in Golden State. He is a player who can score in isolation or move along the perimeter. That fits right in to what the Warriors like to do.
This is an instance where Danilo Gallinari would have to take a cut in pay, but it seems like he is willing to do so. The Warriors will be back near the top of the Western Conference in 2021-2022. This move would be incredible for both parties as it would check off goals all over the board.
2. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors showed that they could be a force during the regular season without Kawhi Leonard, but they lacked that difference maker come playoff time. Danilo Gallinari is not a Leonard-type offensive talent, but he would add to a backcourt that could use some help. Gallinari would add size to the Raptors which they could use from a player along the perimeter.
Toronto’s main priority entering the offseason is to figure out what they want to do with Fred VanVleet. It would behoove the organization to keep him on the team. VanVleet is a talented all-around player who is getting better year-by-year. Both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are free agents this year. The Raptors will also have to figure out their situations. The Raptors would like to keep their core around but if one leaves, there would be room for Gallinari.
It is noteworthy to mention that Danilo Gallinari has ties to Masai Ujiri. While working with the Denver Nuggets, Ujiri was apart of the organization that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York for a massive return, including Gallinari. There is a lot that needs to happen for this deal to work, but the Raptors would be a nice fit for Gallinari. They should take a long, hard look at all possibilities.
If Danilo Gallinari ends up in Toronto, the team would continue to be threats in the conference. They were tripped up short of the Eastern Conference Finals in the bubble and they will need to improve to make sure that it does not happen again next season.
1. Miami Heat
The Heat are coming off an NBA Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. They made an unexpected run through the Eastern Conference on the back of Jimmy Butler. He carried the Heat through the playoffs using his scoring ability and leadership on and off the floor. There is no doubt that Butler will be in Miami for quite some time. Now, it is up to the front office to put the correct pieces around him.
Danilo Gallinari could be one of those pieces. Miami is a team that could use a stretch-four who can create his own shots. Over the last two years, Gallinari has averaged two three-pointers per game and shot at least 40%. Gallinari has improved his midrange game and can get to the free throw line. At 32-years old, Gallinari has improved his game and will continue to get better. This could be a match made in heaven.
Miami has some nice players on cheap deals as of now. Bam Adebayo along with Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro have become household names. Butler and Goran Dragic added a veteran presence to the team. Adding Gallinari would take their offensive set to another level. This is the No. 1 destination for Danilo Gallinari in free agency for a reason and it comes from both sides.
The Heat are a win now team. They have plenty of money to spend as well. Danilo Gallinari could get the best of both worlds. If the Heat are going for it in 2021, and they would be silly not to, then they would be willing to pay Gallinari very nicely. This would put the former sixth-overall pick in a position to win an NBA title while making a nice paycheck.