Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari is one of the NBA players who is expected to be moved before the February trade deadline. The Thunder might have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference this season, but since the departure of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, multiple signs are pointing to Oklahoma City heading into an inevitable rebuild. According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, among the teams who should consider trading for Gallinari is the Indiana Pacers.
Despite not having Victor Oladipo on their team, the Pacers are surprisingly doing well in this season. The Pacers have won seven of their last 10 games, sitting in the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 17-9 record. However, the Pacers are still dealing with a major issue in their frontcourt involving Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.
Though Turner and Sabonis are starting to show improved chemistry, bringing back an old-school frontcourt doesn’t make much sense for the Pacers. As Bailey noted, pairing Sabonis with a “playmaking 4” like Gallinari might give the Pacers a “higher ceiling.”
“Danilo Gallinari is averaging 18.3 points with a 62.4 true shooting percentage in only 30.4 minutes per game. There are only 11 players in NBA history who have at least 500 three-point attempts and match his career marks for points per 75 possessions (19.2) and true shooting percentage (59.0). He’s in the top 100 all-time in career offensive box plus/minus. Adding that scoring punch to a team that’s in the middle of the pack offensively pushes them closer to the top tier of the Eastern Conference. And unloading Turner’s contract means Indiana would no longer be tied to a frontcourt that might not make sense in today’s NBA.”
Gallinari would be an incredible addition to the Pacers, giving them an All-Star-caliber big man who could knock down shots from beyond the arc and is a better fit alongside Sabonis. Once Victor Oladipo returns from an injury, adding Gallinari to the Pacers’ core would undeniably make them a more dangerous team in the Eastern Conference this season.
However, before trading for Gallinari, the Pacers should first get an assurance from him that he intends to stay long-term in Indiana. Gallinari is currently in the final year of his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
To acquire Gallinari, Bailey suggested that the Pacers could simply offer Turner to the Thunder. Trading Gallinari for Turner is indeed a no-brainer for the Thunder. Instead of losing Gallinari in free agency without getting anything in return, the Thunder would be acquiring a young and promising big man in Turner. At 23-years-old, Turner perfectly fits the timeline of the Thunder’s young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrance Ferguson, and Hamidou Diallo.