Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari is currently playing the final year of his contract with the team and set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-20 NBA season. Though he’s one of the veterans who’s set to lead the Thunder in the 2020 Playoffs, most people believe that Gallinari’s departure from Oklahoma City this fall is inevitable. Instead of wasting his prime on a rebuilding team, Gallinari is expected to leave the Thunder in free agency in order to play for a legitimate title contender.
One of the potential landing spots for Gallinari this fall is the Miami Heat. If he’s eyeing to sign with a team that could offer him a huge amount of money while giving him the opportunity to contend for a championship title next season, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report believes that the Heat are the “only realistic option” for Gallinari.
“If Danilo Gallinari wants to win and get paid, the Miami Heat are his only realistic option. And even they aren’t a perfect fit. Gallo would likely have to take a one-year deal with the Heat, who can’t tie up long-term cash that they hope to spend on a certain Greek MVP in 2021 free agency. Gallinari might prefer a few more years on his deal as he heads into his age-32 season, teams will have more money to throw around in 2021. It wouldn’t be the worst move to lock in a one-year pact and re-enter free agency next offseason with more options.”
Gallinari may not be the legitimate superstar that the Heat are dreaming of pairing with Jimmy Butler, but he would still be a great addition to their roster. Gallinari would give the Heat a very reliable scoring option and an All-Star caliber big man who could space the floor. This season, the 31-year-old power forward is averaging 19.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Sharing the court with an efficient three-point shooter like Gallinari would be beneficial for Butler as it would make it easier for him to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when he’s trapped by the opposing team’s defense. The potential acquisition of Gallinari wouldn’t make the Heat an instant favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2020-21 NBA season, but it would boost their chances of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven series.
Agreeing to a one-year deal makes a lot of sense for Gallinari and the Heat. For the Heat, it would enable them to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2021, when the likes of Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and LeBron James are expected to become free agents. Meanwhile, signing a one-year contract with the Heat would allow Gallinari to test the free agency market again in next year’s offseason where plenty of teams are set to have maximum salary cap space.