Veteran power forward Danilo Gallinari was one of the NBA players that the Los Angeles Clippers sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire Paul George. When he first arrived in Oklahoma City, the initial belief was that the Thunder would use him as a trade chip to acquire more assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. However, everyone was surprised when the Thunder let the 2020 February NBA trade deadline pass with Gallinari still on their roster.
Some people may think that keeping Gallinari for the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season wasn’t a wise move for the Thunder as they took the risk of losing him without getting anything in return for the opportunity to play in the Western Conference Playoffs. However, Gallinari doesn’t seem to be going anywhere this summer. In an appearance on The Daily Thunder Podcast, Gallinari hinted at his desire to stay in Oklahoma City for the long term.
“I really wanted to stay to stay here,” Gallinari said. “[It would be] tough to leave such a great atmosphere, great teammates, a group that is winning… I wanted to stay.”
The 2019-20 season is still far from over, but as of now, Gallinari is strongly considering the possibility of inking a new deal with the Thunder when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“I hope so,” Gallinari said. “It’s not the time now to talk with the team. But in the summer, it’s going to be interesting for me… Definitely, it could be a great option for me to stay here.”
It is no longer surprising why Gallinari wants to stay in Oklahoma City. When they parted ways with George and Russell Westbrook last summer, most people thought that the Thunder would already be taking a different route and focusing on the development of their young players. However, instead of undergoing a full-scale rebuild, the Thunder chose to remain a competitive team in the current season, which greatly benefits their veterans like Gallinari.
Compared to more than half of the teams in the Western Conference, the Thunder are currently in a much better situation. Before the NBA suspension due to the spread of coronavirus, the Thunder were on a three-game winning streak, sitting in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record. The Thunder may not be one of the heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but they would definitely be a tough team to face in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.