What's the rumor?
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, several notable players around the league are being linked with a trade. As an excellent three-point shooter available on an expiring deal, Danilo Gallinari has been heavily linked with an exit from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated believes that the 31-year-old is among the players most likely to be traded over the next week:
Gallinari on an expiring deal looking like one of the better intersections of availability and value, and one of the key players to watch. His versatility on offense as a floor-spacing option and as someone who can help carry a second unit offensively makes him immensely useful to a playoff team... Gallinari seems a reasonable bet to move by this time next week.
In case you didn't know...
After being named Italian League MVP back in 2008, Gallinari was drafted 6th overall by the New York Knicks. While always a reliable scorer, the Italian struggled with injuries during spells with the Knicks and the Denver Nuggets, although he has put his fitness issues aside over the past 18 months to enjoy the best spell of his career.
During the 2018-19 season, Gallinari averaged 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 43% from beyond the arc. His time in LA came to an end last summer when he was included in the blockbuster trade that sent Paul George to the Clippers, although Gallinari has continued to perform well with the Thunder. Over 41 appearances, the forward has averaged 19.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists - while connecting with 41.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
The heart of the matter...
Gallinari has played a significant role in elevating the Thunder to become the seventh seed in the West, although OKC is still undergoing a rebuild - and Billy Donovan's team are unlikely to be a threat in the playoffs. Due to this, it makes sense for the Thunder to move the 31-year-old rather than lose him for free this summer, and it is difficult to envision Gallinari remaining in Oklahoma City past the trade deadline.
The Thunder are back in action on Friday night as they take on the Phoenix Suns. They then face the Cleveland Cavaliers next Wednesday.