According to a newly published list of possible destinations for this year’s top free agents in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers might be a plausible landing spot for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari, provided both teams are willing to work out a sign-and-trade deal.
On Friday morning, Bleacher Report‘s Dan Favale wrote that the Lakers might be a dark horse for Gallinari’s services in free agency, though in their case, it would be important to convince the Thunder to agree to a sign-and-trade. This, he explained, is because Los Angeles only has the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to use if they want to sign a free agent without giving up anything in return.
Further expounding on Oklahoma City’s situation, Favale wrote that the organization might finally be ready to rebuild, more than one year after ostensibly starting the process by parting ways with superstars Paul George and Russell Westbrook. The Bleacher Report writer suggested that the Thunder might be one of the few teams willing to negotiate with the Lakers during this rebuilding process, though this would be contingent on the team not having expectations of “immediately” emerging as a Western Conference contender.
As explained, the “real challenge” for the Lakers would be to come up with an appealing enough package, given their lack of “prime-time” assets and the importance of veteran wingman Danny Green as a key role player. Favale suggested that the team could consider offering guards Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Rajon Rondo and big man JaVale McGee as salary filler, along with their No. 28 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He also suggested a deal involving Bradley, McGee, and third-string guard Quinn Cook that would allow Los Angeles to acquire Gallinari with a salary-cap hit of approximately $17.2 million.
“They can drive up that number by dealing the No. 28 pick as an actual salary, including yet another player or subbing in [Caldwell-Pope’s] money for anyone,” he continued.
“Is this enough to get the Thunder to bite? Debatable. It is definitely more appealing if they’re saving immediate cash in any eventual Chris Paul trade.”
Should the hypothetical scenario become a reality, there might be a few concerns, such as the possibility that Anthony Davis — whose apparent aversion to playing center has been well-documented — might have to start in the middle. However, Favale opined that the issue shouldn’t be a “deal-breaker,” as it likely won’t be hard for the team to find a workaround if Davis still doesn’t want to play center. Furthermore, he added that Gallinari would mainly help the Lakers as someone who can create his own shot while also effectively drawing fouls, especially during times when superstar forward LeBron James is resting.