Despite having the explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Portland Trail Blazers still need some help in order to accomplish their main goal in the 2019-20 NBA season. With some of their big men going down one after another with injuries, the Trail Blazers are highly expected to seek frontcourt help before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. In his recent article, Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer mentioned several potential trade targets for the Trail Blazers, including Danilo Gallinari of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Since the departure of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, rumors have been continuously swirling around Gallinari and his future with the Thunder. The Thunder may have enough talents to compete for a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference, but even before the 2019-20 NBA season started, multiple signs showed that the Thunder would trade their veterans and focus on the development of their young players. In their potential pursuit of Gallinari, Uggetti believes that the Trail Blazers could acquire the All-Star forward by simply sending a trade package including a future first-round pick to the Thunder.
“Danilo Gallinari is another trade candidate who could fit in well with this team. He would be the perfect stretch 4 to play with Portland’s deadly backcourt. And while it’s unclear what Oklahoma City’s ultimate goals are for this season, Gallinari and his expiring contract could be a tasty asset for Sam Presti to try to swap for another first-round pick.”
Gallinari would be an incredible addition to the Trail Blazers, giving them an All-Star-caliber power forward who could serve as their third-best scoring option behind Lillard and McCollum. Having a floor-spacing big man like Gallinari would further improve the Trail Blazers’ offensive efficiency, which currently ranks 10th in the league, scoring 106.4 points per 100 possessions, per ESPN. In the 10 games he played with the Thunder, Gallinari averaged 18.6 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Gallinari is undeniably a key contributor for the Thunder in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, if they have finally decided to undergo a rebuilding process, trading him for future draft assets before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline would be their best option, rather than letting him walk away in the 2020 NBA free agency as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. Gallinari may not have shown any sign that he’s not happy in Oklahoma City, but at this point in his NBA career, he would likely prefer to play for a legitimate playoff contender than stay with a rebuilding team like the Thunder.