Danilo Gallinari is soon to be a free agent now that the 2019-2020 season is over.
The 32-year old Italian just played the last year of his 3-year, $64.8 million deal he signed in 2017 with the LA Clippers.
After being a key piece on a Thunder team that took the Rockets to 7 games in the playoffs, Gallinari is seen as a top target this offseason.
He could very easily find a team that would pay him an 8-figure salary.
However, Gallinari said he is not chasing the big bucks this offseason.
He says he would rather play for a title contender.
While talking about his future at the “Festival dello Sport” in Italy, Gallinari was asked if playing for a championship is more important than money.
“Yes. At the time, yes. I’m not 20 anymore”, Gallinari responded.
For somebody who is approaching the end of his career and has already made more than $135 million, this could be a smart move.
Especially when you consider Gallinari has only made the playoffs 4 times in his career and not once has he made the 2nd round.
What caused the real stir was the tweet Gallinari sent out after the Lakers won the NBA Title.
— DANILO GALLINARI (@gallinari8888) October 12, 2020
The Los Angeles Lakers have a laundry list of players that could be free agents this offseason.
Win or lose, the Lakers have a TON of work to do this offseason.
Potential free agents this summer:
– Anthony Davis (player option)
– KCP (player)
– Rondo (player)
– Avery Bradley (player)
– JaVale McGee (player)
– Dwight Howard
– Dion Waiters
– Markieff Morris
– Jared Dudley
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) October 9, 2020
For the sake of discussing fit, let’s assume Anthony Davis resigns and all player-options are opted-in.
That would leave the Lakers with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Javale McGee, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, and Danny Green.
If the Lakers are able to sign Gallinari, he would most likely play the power forward for the Lakers.
Giving them a starting 5 of LeBron, Bradley, KCP, Gallinari, and Davis.
Davis had been playing the power forward position this year, but the addition of a stretch-4 would allow them to move Davis full-time to the center position.
Gallinari is a career 38% shooter from 3 who has averaged nearly 19 PPG the past 3 seasons.
Two of the Laker’s biggest problems this season were a lack of shooting and a 3rd scoring option.
Gallinari fills both of those holes.
He can operate as a spot-up shooter to space the floor, but also has enough skill to score in isolation.
His defense has never been stellar, but the Lakers will have enough defenders around to him to negate that disadvantage.
Gallinari Respected Around the League
After the decision the restart the NBA season in the bubble was made, it was no guarantee Gallinari would play.
He had played very well with the Thunder and was in line for a large contract this offseason.
Some wondered whether it would be worth risking injury in the bubble for a team that wasn’t predicted to contend for a title.
Instead, Gallinari made the trip to the bubble and helped the Thunder push the Houston Rockets to 7 games in the first round.
Gallinari himself didn’t play very well, only shooting 32% from 3, but still chipped in 15 PPG while helping to space the floor.
Gallinari elaborated on why he never thought about not playing during a conference call.
“Not in my mind or my agents mind. The main reason is because we are fighting for something, and I think that what we are fighting for and what we play for is more important than the free agency that I’m going to approach.”
In a league that made the fight for racial justice a main topic during the restart, Gallinari’s quote resonates with players.
The biggest knock on Gallinari is his injury history.
He has only played in more than 70 games in 2 out of his 12 seasons, with the last such instance coming back in 2012-2013.
He has missed 156 games since sitting out the entire 2013-2014 season with a torn ACL.
Removing the 2013-2014 season, Gallinari has missed an average of 16.6 games per season for his career due to injury.
If he can remain healthy, he will be a valuable piece on any title contender.
A 6’10” stretch-forward who can space the floor and score from all three levels on the court.