When the Oklahoma City Thunder lost their two best players — Russell Westbrook and Paul George — last summer, the popular belief around the league was that the team would be trading their veterans and undergoing a full-scale rebuild. Since the 2019 NBA offseason, several veteran players on the Thunder’s roster are rumored to be available on the trading block, including Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams. However, with Oklahoma City currently in the playoff race in the 2019-20 NBA season, Thunder General Manager Sam Presti could have a change of plans before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
In his recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report created his own 10 realistic predictions before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. For the Thunder, Swartz sees Paul and Adams finishing the 2019-20 NBA season in Oklahoma City, but he still expected Gallinari to be moved. Though he’s one of the major reasons why they remain a competitive team this season, Swartz believes that trading Gallinari would be a “smart play” for the Thunder.
“Danilo Gallinari, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Paul George trade, is on an expiring $22.6 million contract. If the Thunder aren’t willing to commit sizable money to him this summer (they shouldn’t be), trading him for something now would be the smart play. The Clippers pulled a similar move last February, dealing Tobias Harris and his expiring contract to the Philadelphia 76ers in a package that netted two first-round picks. Look for CP3 and fan favorite Steven Adams to stay put, with a team like the Portland Trail Blazers calling for Gallinari’s services.”
If they have no intention of giving him a huge amount of money next summer, trading Gallinari before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline would undeniably be the best move for the Thunder rather than losing him as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. Once he becomes officially available on the trading block, several NBA teams who are in dire need of a frontcourt boost would likely express a strong interest in adding Gallinari to their roster.
Some of the potential suitors of Gallinari include the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Miami Heat. Though he would only be a rental, it wouldn’t be a surprise if opposing teams decide to give up a trade package, including a future first-round pick, in exchange for Gallinari. The 31-year-old power forward is currently establishing an impressive performance in the 2019-20 NBA season, averaging 18.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc.