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Danilo Gallinari could play very interesting role after signing $61.5M deal, per Hawks GM

Danilo Gallinari, Hawks, John Collins

Perhaps the Atlanta Hawks will not be trading John Collins, after all.

Atlanta was aggressive in signing former Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari to a three-year, $61.5 million deal in free agency. However, the decision also seemed to make things murky for Collins, given he and Gallinari usually play the same position.

However, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said the team made it clear to Gallinari during negotiations that he would be coming off the bench:

“We made it clear that the role that (Danilo Gallinari) was signing up for was to come in and be a backup behind John (Collins),” Schlenk said, via Hawks reporter Kevin Chouinard.

Schlenk did add his belief it was “very possible” there were rotations that could include both John Collins and Danilo Gallinari. That said, Atlanta also has to account for room on the wing after signing Bogdan Bogdanovic.

In other words, it is likely Gallinari will be the richest sixth man in the league.

The 32-year-old averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Thunder last year, and he has shot at least 40 percent or better from beyond the arc in each of the past two seasons. Gallinari has plenty to offer the Hawks, but it will just be in a slightly different role than he has typically played in his career.

Still, this is probably good news for Hawks fans.

Collins is coming off a tremendous season for Atlanta. He averaged 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while also shooting over 40.1 percent from deep on 3.6 attempts per game. The 23-year-old is eligible for a max extension, and Schlenk’s latest press conference seemed to indicate Collins is still regarded as a potential centerpiece.