According to a new report, the Boston Celtics could potentially consider signing Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari in the event Gordon Hayward decides to join another team in the 2020 free agency period.
As explained by Fansided's Hoops Habit on Saturday, recent rumors have suggested that Hayward is planning to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics, which will pay him $34.2 million for the 2020-21 season. Considering these reports, as well as previous trade rumors surrounding the wingman, the outlet suggested that Boston should prioritize finding a replacement for him in the event he signs elsewhere.
In its entry for Gallinari, the publication explained that the 32-year-old enjoyed a productive campaign with the Thunder in 2019-20 and has largely been effective in his 12-year NBA career thus far. In his first season in Oklahoma City, the Italian forward posted averages of 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three-point range.
Although Gallinari exceeded expectations for the Thunder while playing in the same starting lineup as 10-time All-Star Chris Paul, Hoops Habit predicted that he could also thrive in Boston if signed as a free agent, considering how the team's lineup features two skilled leaders and playmakers in Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart.
The site added that he could potentially contribute in all the ways Hayward did during his time with the Celtics, except in the playmaking department; per Basketball-Reference, he only averaged 1.9 assists per game in the 2019-20 campaign.
"That type of addition would prove to be vital in the absence of Hayward. Gallinari isn't really seen as a top defender in the league by any means, but what we saw with him in OKC was different. He plays incredibly tough and is an excellent teammate," the outlet added, also pointing out that he can be an underrated player on defense.
In addition to Gallinari, Hoops Habit also recommended two other incoming free agents whom the Celtics could consider in the event that Hayward opts out and joins another team. These include Jerami Grant of the Denver Nuggets and Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings.
The Celtics are just one of the potential contenders who could be among Gallinari's top suitors in this year's free-agency period. As reported by The Inquisitr, the Golden State Warriors have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot, as the veteran forward could be "close to an ideal fit" as a complementary player to Golden State's All-Star trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.