Danilo Gallinari came to Oklahoma City for one reason. He was salary filler in a deal that also sent five first-round picks, two pick swaps and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Paul George. Many called his contract too bloated for OKC to flip. People are now re-thinking that statement as they’ve seen Gallinari’s strong play this year.
Gallo is a scorer–he doesn’t do much else. He won’t light you up for 50 points on any given night, but he will be consistent in giving you 20. His shooting splits are quite good: he is above-average from three and elite at the free throw line.
The Thunder are in rebuild mode and Gallo doesn’t fit the time table. The tough part? Fans have become attached to some of these players, making trading them more difficult. But they need to think of the future and what OKC is trying to accomplish long-term.
OKC will have to take back salary in any Gallo deal, but their mind will be set on picks. The Thunder will have to rely on the draft to build this team back up. There is a contender out there that is willing to take on Gallo and give OKC picks and an expiring deal. Keep in mind OKC still needs to shed $921K to duck the tax line this year. They should also use some picks to try and land a star via trade, as well as possibly attach to Chris Paul in sending him out.
Gallo has the experience to help a team right now for a playoff run. OKC should be letting him handle the ball and score in all situations to increase trade value. If things continue to go as they have, Gallo will be helping himself as well as OKC.
Potential trade suitors:
There are other possibilities, but extracting from the four teams below is most logical, as they each have a contract they can unload without having to bring a third team in.
Blazers: This is an interesting one because the Blazers are struggling badly this season. They will eventually pick it up a little bit, but a once easy trade destination has become a bit murky. They can easily turn it on, but just as easily fall hopelessly behind in a loaded western conference. Portland possesses all of their first round picks from 2020-26.
Portland receives: Gallinari.
OKC receives: Portland’s 2021 first round pick, 2022 second round pick and Kent Bazemore.
The reality is that the Thunder are not getting Anfernee Simons.
Timberwolves: This franchise continues to be caught in a conundrum of winning and losing. They will be battling for a playoff spot most of the year and are talented enough to get one. Could they get desperate and decide a trade for Gallo could help them get playoff experience?
Honestly I’m not looking for picks in a Wolves trade. I’ve always been a big fan of Jarrett Culver, so I am putting together a package to help OKC get a top talent from the 2019 NBA draft.
Minnesota receives: Gallinari, Denver’s 2020 first round pick and a 2020 second round pick.
OKC receives: Gorgui Dieng and Jarrett Culver.
Yes, OKC gets a bad contract, but they get a blossoming two-way player in Culver. Oklahoma City could then throw Dieng into as much action as possible and try to flip him next year.
Heat: The Heat have one of the best coaches in basketball in Erik Spoelstra. They also have an interesting group of players he is working with. A trade for Gallinari could help lighten the load for Jimmy Butler, and they could unload an expiring deal.
Let’s get crazy here and put together two different deals: One that helps OKC out in the draft and one that helps OKC out with a player.
Heat receive: Gallinari, Denver’s 2020 first round pick, 2020 second round pick, and returned control of their 2021 pick, currently eligible for a pick-swap for the Thunder.
OKC receives: Dion Waiters and Tyler Herro.
Waiters Island comes back to OKC, who could possibly could re-establish value. But more importantly, OKC gets Herro, who could be the sharp shooter the team needs for the future.
Heat receive: Danilo Gallinari.
OKC receives: James Johnson and Miami’s 2020 first round pick.
The Heat get a scorer to help Butler and rid themselves of Johnson. OKC gets another draft pick. Plus, if they decide to get into a brawl, nobody is beating a Johnson and Steven Adams duo.
Mavericks: The Mavs will seemingly be making the playoffs. They have a good young team and an MVP candidate in Luka Doncic. A proven scorer and a player who’s been to the playoffs in Gallo could be what the young team needs to grow.
Here we look at the most ideal trade scenario. The Mavs have an opportunity to make some noise in the West. They’re not contenders yet, but maybe they see Gallo as a great scoring option and have plans of keeping him around to re-sign.
Mavericks receive: Danilo Gallinari.
OKC receives: Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dallas’s 2023 first round pick.3
Hardaway Jr. doesn’t seem to fit the Mavs’ style. The Thunder can play this cycle again and try to re-establish Hardaway’s value and flip him. The 2022 first round pick will likely be towards the back end of the draft, but OKC needs all they can get draft-wise.
So is he getting dealt?
Nothing in life is guaranteed except death and taxes. But I would say Gallo being dealt by the trade deadline is 99% likely. He is continuing to boost his value and although he’s becoming a fan favorite, his value as a trade chip outweighs that of keeping him around. I have February circled on the calendar. There may be injuries that shake up the trade market by then–so much can happen. But if Gallo continues his upward trend, then OKC can create a bidding war heading into the deadline.
I would say the two most likely scenarios are the Mavericks and the Blazers. I still believe he ends up in Portland. I believe Portland will eventually turn it around. They won’t be contenders, but their front office believes they are. I am all for it.
He is looking to contend, which is why I think a Dallas trade is ideal. I would say he is looking at a 2-year 30 million dollar deal, sacrificing some money to try and get a ring. The Mavericks are the most logical suitor in the sense that they can have Gallo help them this year and keep him around to re-sign this summer. Their duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis should help.
This is tricky because OKC doesn’t have a true four just lying around. Plus, I believe CP3 will remain on the roster at this time. So I’ll go with Darius Bazley.