Perhaps no NBA franchise during the 2019 offseason experience more turbulence and shakeup than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder, losers in the first round of last season’s playoffs, remained hopeful for the 2019-20 regular season with stars still on the team; however, general manager Sam Presti sent forward Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and point guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.
In the wake of the moves, head coach billy donovan will enter his fifth season in charge of OKC with an immensely different set of expectations than when the roster featured George and Westbrook.
Donovan traveled to a basketball tournament in Athens, Greece, and wound up speaking to new Thunder player Danilo Gallinari, acquired in the George deal, and Dennis Schroder, who the Thunder received in July 2018.
Here’s what the 54-year-old Donovan had to say about speaking to the Italian-born Gallinari to a Greek television broadcast (via Eurohoops.net):
“It’s great to see [former Florida Gators athlete] Nick [Calathes] again … said Donovan during a brief interview to the Greek national television and explained the purpose of his trip. “I am here to meet with Danilo Gallinari who is our new player in Oklahoma City. Before arriving here, I was in Germany and met with Dennis Schroder. We like to meet with our players during the summer in their home countries and of course, it’s great to see them competing at this level.”
Gallinari, 31, is going to celebrate his 11th season in the NBA come the fall after stints with the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, and most recently Clippers.
The 2019 FIBA World Cup in China will kick off at the beginning of September, hence the ramp-up of international hoops undergoing across the globe in preparation for the tournament.