Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari is expected to be one of the most coveted players on the free agency market in the 2020 offseason. He may be among the reasons why the team is currently in the playoff race, but if the Thunder finally decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild, they would be forced to let him go this fall. One of the teams that could express a strong interest in acquiring Gallinari is the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, the Trail Blazers could execute a sign-and-trade deal with the Thunder to acquire Gallinari in the 2020 free agency. In the proposed trade scenario, the Trail Blazers would be sending a trade package that includes Trevor Ariza, Zach Collins, and future first-round picks to Oklahoma City in exchange for Gallinari.
“While they have CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard under contract through 2023-24 and 2024-25, respectively, each of those stars may soon regress due to age and wear and tear. The return of Jusurf Nurkic and Zach Collins will help, but they will not provide the punch they need to contend with the power of the two Los Angeles teams. Making a move for someone like Gallinari could change that. Portland still has all its first-round picks in addition to moveable contracts in Trevor Ariza (expiring) and Collins. Packaging those two plus draft capital could be enough to execute a sign-and-trade.”
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum won’t become free agents anytime soon, but with their inability to win a championship title, it may only be a matter of time before both superstars grow unhappy with the Trail Blazers. If the team is serious about keeping its explosive backcourt duo, it should strongly consider making moves that would give the Trail Blazers a realistic chance of beating Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers in a best-of-seven series.
Gallinari may not be on the level of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Paul George, but Ellis believes that his arrival in Portland could make the Trail Blazers a more competitive team in the 2020-21 NBA season. Gallinari would give the Trail Blazers a very reliable scoring option, rebounder, facilitator, and floor-spacer. This season, he’s averaging 19.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
With his ability to efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc, he wouldn’t only be an intriguing fit alongside Jusuf Nurkic in the Trail Blazers’ frontcourt, but he would also make it easier for Lillard and McCollum to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.
Meanwhile, the potential deal is indeed a no-brainer for the Thunder. Instead of letting Gallinari walk away without getting anything in return, the suggested trade would allow them to acquire a young player and future draft assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.