In a recent article, Dan FaVale of Bleacher Report created a list of trades that the reigning NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers could make to get LeBron James and Anthony Davis a third star in the 2020 offseason. These include the hypothetical deal that would enable them to acquire Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari. With the Lakers expected to use their salary cap space to re-sign Davis, they would only have the mid-level exception to offer Gallinari in the 2020 free agency.
However, if Gallinari demands a bigger contract, the Lakers would need to find other ways to acquire him from Oklahoma City. As FaVale noted, the Purple and Gold’s “most likely path” to Gallinari is via a sign-and-trade deal. In the proposed scenario by Bleacher Report, the Lakers would send a package that includes Danny Green, Talen Horton-Tucker, and the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NBA draft to the Thunder in exchange for Gallinari.
“Danny Green’s $15.4 million salary is a fair placeholder. That’s a number Gallinari would be able to find in a more reasonable, cap-rich market. But Green alone shouldn’t do it for the Thunder. He is 33 and on an expiring contract. They need wings who can shoot, but he doesn’t fit the mold of a team that is gearing up for a rebuild. Dangling whoever’s taken with the No. 28 pick or Talen Horton-Tucker alone might get the job done.”
Horton-Tucker undeniably showed huge potential last season, but with the Lakers’ goal to defend their throne next season, the team needs players that could immediately contribute on the floor. Gallinari would be an incredible addition to the Lakers, giving them an All-Star caliber big man who is capable of efficiently knocking down shots from beyond the arc. He may not be able to address the team’s need for secondary playmaking, but he would provide them with another shot creator behind LeBron. Last season, the 32-year-old power forward averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from the three-point range, per ESPN.
If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Lakers but also for the Thunder. Instead of losing Gallinari in the 2020 free agency without getting anything in return, the potential deal would allow them to acquire a young and promising player in Horton-Tucker and a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Green may no longer fit the timeline of the Thunder, but he could serve as a great mentor to their young core. If he performs well next season, the Thunder could flip his expiring contract into a young player or a future draft asset before next year’s trade deadline.