One trade that would make the Bucks even more dangerous
The Golden State Warriors taught the NBA a lot about itself over the past half-decade. While there are myriad ways of explaining their excellence, one key point was dialed down upon during their stretch of three titles in four years — doing what they do best at an elite level. Now, the Milwaukee Bucks are on the precipice of similar dominance, having stacked up an Eastern Conference-high 60 wins last year and already getting off to a 14-3 start in 2019-20. But what if the Bucks could be even better?
On the surface, Milwaukee’s roster appears set with very little need for tinkering. Arguably, had they not run into the impenetrable force of Kawhi Leonard last postseason, they may have represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
But if they are to take the next step in their dominance and reach the NBA Finals, the acquisition of sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari might be the move that makes the team even more terrifying than their present state.
Entering play Tuesday, Gallinari has played in 16 games during 2019-20 and knocked down multiple threes in 15 of them. He is far from a ball-dominant scorer, rather taking advantage of his role in Oklahoma City to average 2.7 made triples per game, which puts him on pace for the highest mark of his career. Now factor in that Milwaukee is attempting the second-most threes on a nightly basis (41.0) in the league and the two seem destined as a match.
Gallinari, who is making more than $22.6 million this season, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this year. He joined the Thunder during the summer, one of the players used as collateral to help get the blockbuster Paul George swap completed.
Oklahoma City has opened the 2019-20 year with a 6-10 mark, and many do not project the team to remain in serious contention for the entirety of the year; in that case, moving Gallinari before they lose him for nothing seems like their best bet.
It’s unlikely that Milwaukee would even need Gallinari to immediately join their starting five. With the frontcourt consisting of All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, in addition to center Brook Lopez anchoring the group, they could utilize Gallinari as the lead scorer of their second unit, a role that would allow him to see a significant workload while continuing to fire away from deep.
What the Thunder would require in order to move Gallinari has not been made immediately clear, although it seems that the team would be at least open to doing so due to salary constraints and his impending unrestricted free agency.
Milwaukee has already proven themselves equally terrifying to defend in 2019-20 as they were last year, leading the league in scoring at just shy of 120 points per game.
If they want to put the full-court press on the rest of the league, adding another accomplished shooter who is finding a second wind in his career would be just the move.