Since the 2019 NBA offseason, rumors have been continuously swirling around Danilo Gallinari and his future with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder may seemingly have enough talent to compete for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, but since the departure of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, multiple signs are pointing out that Oklahoma City would trade their veterans — including Gallinari — and rebuild the team. According to Andrew Miller of Fansided’s Pippen Ain’t Easy, one of the teams who could express a strong interest in acquiring Gallinari before the February trade deadline is the Chicago Bulls.
In the proposed trade deal by Fansided’s Pippen Ain’t Easy, the Bulls would be sending a trade package including Otto Porter Jr., Denzel Valentine, and Luke Kornet to the Thunder in exchange for Gallinari, Terrance Ferguson, and Darius Bazley. Since Kornet just signed a new contract with the Bulls in the summer, both teams would be needing to wait until mid-December to push forward with the deal. However, if the deal becomes a reality, it would most likely help both NBA teams fill their needs and improve their roster.
The potential arrival of Gallinari would boost the Bulls’ performance, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Gallinari is not only a dominant presence under the basket, but he is also capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. This season, the 31-year-old small forward is averaging 19.1 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three-point range.
Ferguson and Bazley aren’t just salary-cap fillers. Aside from filling the hole that Porter would be leaving in their wing, the two wingmen, who are 21 and 19 respectively, perfectly fit the timeline of the Bulls’ young core of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, and Wendell Carter Jr.
As Miller noted, the potential deal would not only be beneficial for the Bulls but also the Thunder.
“And what this helps for the Thunder in return from the Bulls is a much-needed two-way wing with Porter Jr. and a strong spot-up three-point shooting presence with fourth-year shooting guard Denzel Valentine. If the Thunder still manage to stay in playoff contention in the Western Conference through the midpoint of the regular season, then a trade like this could make sense.”
Porter is clearly an upgrade for Ferguson in the Thunder’s wing rotation. He and Valentine may already be 26, but they could still be part of the Thunder’s rebuilding plan. Though Kornet is still a work in progress, he has already shown potential of becoming a big man who could excel in the modern NBA game.