From the time he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer, rumors immediately started to swirl around veteran power forward Danilo Gallinari and his future with the team. After the departure of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the Thunder were highly expected to move Gallinari and other veterans, and quickly begin a full-scale rebuild. However, the Thunder surprisingly chose to remain competitive this season and let the February NBA trade deadline pass with Gallinari on their roster, making some people think that Oklahoma City might consider keeping the Italian big man on their team for a while longer.
Though he doesn’t fit the timeline of their young core, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report believes that re-signing Gallinari in free agency makes a lot of sense for the Thunder.
“If nothing else, OKC has shown a savvy understanding of asset management. Gallo is a hot commodity, so signing him to a new deal with an eye toward trading him down the line would make plenty of sense. If there aren’t any positive-value offers for Chris Paul, the Thunder would be right to continue operating like a playoff team for the final two years of CP3’s deal. Paradoxically, locking Gallo down would increase the Thunder’s flexibility, allowing them to compete in the short term or offload him via trade when the rebuild starts in earnest.”
Giving Gallinari a new deal would be a wise move for the Thunder. As Hughes noted, re-signing Gallinari would give the Thunder plenty of options in the 2020 NBA offseason. If they fail to find a team that would take veteran point guard Chris Paul and his massive contract, having Gallinari on their roster would enable the Thunder to remain competitive in the Western Conference.
If Gallinari once again establishes an impressive performance next season, the Thunder may consider using him as a trade chip to acquire more assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Unfortunately for the Thunder, they aren’t the only ones who are planning to offer a contract to Gallinari in free agency. For a man of his caliber, he’s expected to receive strong interest from teams that are in dire need of a frontcourt boost to have a better chance of winning a championship title next year.
If they fail to bring Gallinari back, Hughes suggested that the Thunder could use their salary cap space to re-sign Nerlens Noel or try stealing Tristan Thompson from the Cleveland Cavaliers.