Danilo Gallinari is one of the NBA players that the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired in the blockbuster deal that sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. Keeping Gallinari on their roster makes sense if the Thunder want to remain competitive in the deep Western Conference, but after they also traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, it’s crystal clear where Oklahoma City is currently heading.
Trading Gallinari’s expiring contract before next February’s NBA trade deadline would be a wise move for the Thunder, rather than losing him in the 2020 NBA free agency without getting anything in return.
Once Danilo Gallinari officially becomes available on the trading block, he’s expected to receive strong interest from NBA teams who want to boost their chance of contending for the NBA championship while preserving their salary cap space for the summer of 2020. According to Austin Carroll of Fansided’s Rip City Project, one of the NBA teams who may consider trading for Gallinari are the Portland Trail Blazers.
The explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have managed to reach another milestone in the 2018-19 NBA season when they made their first appearance in the Western Conference Finals. However, after suffering a defeat from the hands of the Golden State Warriors, the Trail Blazers obviously need more star power on their roster in order to have a realistic chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Danilo Gallinari may not be as good as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Kevin Durant, but he would still be an incredible addition to the Trail Blazers, giving them an All-Star caliber big man who has the ability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. Last season, the 30-year-old small forward averaged 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field, and 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.
To acquire him from the Thunder, Fansided’s Rip City Project suggested that the Trail Blazers could offer a trade package including Kent Bazemore, Gary Trent Jr., and a 2020 first-round pick in exchange for Danilo Gallinari. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“This move would net the Blazers an elite scorer for relatively little. This trade essentially swaps two bench players in Evan Turner (who was traded for Kent Bazemore) and Gary Trent Jr. into a player with borderline All-Star talent. Losing next year’s draft pick hurts, but with how good Portland should be on paper it will be a late first-rounder in a point guard heavy draft class. With Damian Lillard locked into his supermax extension, it will be especially hard to find high value in the late first-round if the Blazers don’t wish to add another young point guard behind Anfernee Simons.”
If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Trail Blazers, but also for the Thunder. In exchange for Danilo Gallinari, the Thunder would be receiving a young player in Gary Trent Jr. and a future first-round pick that would help them speed up the rebuilding process in the post-Russell Westbrook era. Kent Bazemore may only be a salary cap filler, but the Thunder could use him as a trade chip to acquire another future draft asset before the next February’s NBA trade deadline.