After an eventful year with OKC Thunder last season, Danilo Gallinari is looking forward to free agency. Given that he averaged 18.7 points per game for OKC in 2019-20 and has shot at over 40% from downtown for the past two years, Gallo is expected to be in demand and command a salary upwards of $15 million. The Italian sharpshooter has, however, claimed that he wants to play for a contender and NBA trade rumors have linked him with several teams including LA Lakers.
NBA Trade Rumors: LA Lakers should avoid moving for Danilo Gallinari
Let's start with the financial aspects of signing Danilo Gallinari. The LA Lakers have a ton of players with player options this offseason. They will most certainly go over the soft cap while negotiating a few deals.
As such, the highest that the Purple and Gold can offer Gallo in free agency is the entirety of their midlevel exception worth roughly $9 million. For someone who earned over $64 million in the last three years, that rather less, even if he prioritizes playing for a contender, especially when he'll have other suitors.
LA Lakers can take the help of OKC Thunder to force a sign-and-trade. The Thunder have retained Danilo Gallinari's Bird Rights so they can offer him a decent contract and ship him to LA. Here's the issue though, the Purple and Gold will have to match salaries. The Thunder have no reason to take on additional salary unless they're compensated for it in the form of a young player or draft stock.
LA Lakers can't offer the latter, but OKC would certainly be eyeing Kyle Kuzma in this deal. Danny Green seems like the automatic pick to make the salaries match. Parting ways with both Green and Kuzma for Danilo Gallinari seems like a tough deal.
Danilo Gallinari's fit with LA Lakers
Let's assume that somehow the LA Lakers have managed to bring Danilo Gallinari in from OKC Thunder. How does he fit in though? The short answer is that he does not.
It's fairly known that Gallo isn't the greatest defender, however, his 6'10 frame and lack of lateral quickness means that he can only play well as the power forward. The LA Lakers are unlikely to tinker with AD's spot in the rotation though. Meanwhile, Gallinari can try his hand in the stretch five role but will probably get eaten up inside the paint by more physical bigs.
Danilo Gallinari will definitely come in handy on offense. Not only is he a great catch-and-shoot player, but he also has the ability to create his own offense. But given the nature of the current LA Lakers line-up, he'll probably have to come off the bench.
While it's easy to see he make an impact that way, the Lakers never managed to find a way to let Kyle Kuzma thrive on offense in a similar role. So there's no guarantee that they'll find the perfect fit for Danilo Gallinari either.
Published 16 Oct 2020, 05:00 IST