By Nick Faggio
Too many articles and blogs waste time on their introductory paragraph. It’s a Sunday morning, the sun is shining and I have a cup of joe. Let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Portland Trail Blazers
Danilo Gallinari to Portland would further solidify the Blazers as a legitimate threat for a championship run. Gallinari would take some of the strenuous weight off the aching backs of Lillard and McCollum. Although Portland has an all time great scorer in Carmelo Anthony at power forward, his age and weariness result in spotty scoring performances. Right before the league went under, a season-high 25 point performance for Melo was succeeded by a loss to the Suns where he totaled just 7 points. Melo is a free agent after this season, and Portland should swap him out with the younger, taller, better Gallinari.
With Melo out and Galo in, there is an upgrade in almost every aspect of Portland’s power forward position. Galo’s splits of (19.2 / 5.5 / 2.1) outweigh Melo’s (15.3 / 6.3 / 1.6) and Gallinari shoots 44% from the field and 41% from 3, compared to Melo’s 42% field goal, and 37% 3PT. The stats supporting why Gallinari is a better signing than Melo doesn’t fool anyone, but why should Gallinari, a star in a weak free agency summer, choose Portland?
Although we do not know the severity of lost cap space this summer due to a suspended season, Portland has the highest team payroll in the entire league this summer at $137,371,388. They would likely have to work a sign and trade with Oklahoma City. Yet, OKC could use some of the young wings that Portland has to offer. Sign and trades are tricky but, this is a move to watch.
The 76ers are one of the teams with the highest necessity for Danilo Gallinari. They could use his shooting, and his height would compliment their monster line-up. The dilemma in between Philadelphia and Gallo is Philly’s very limited cap space. Gallinari is not taking any veteran minimum, so the Sixers need to clear up cap to make the deal.
The first step of clearing cap, is dumping Al Horford’s 4-year/ $109M deal. Horford makes $27.25M a season and has been moved to the bench in a struggling Philly offense. The next step for Horford? Out of Philadelphia completely. Horford still has three years left on his expensive deal. The Sixers need to deal him elsewhere as a salary dump.
Finding a trade for Horford will be troublesome as the 34-year-old had a sharp decline in production this season. Any team willing to take on his contract will need to be convinced that he their system can bring him back to his Boston Celtic form.
If Horford can be shipped to a team that has the cap space to absorb his contract, the 76ers can throw an offer to Gallinari. An offense lacking three-point shooting will use Gallinari to the best of his ability. Philly will begin to repair their underachieving record, and return to their 52 win-caliber team just last season. Plus, fans could be calling for a change if their season ends in a disappointment, which it surely might.
If Danilo were to suit up for Mark Cuban next season, he would be the needed piece to put the Mavericks back in Finals contention. A big three of Gallo, Luka, and Kristaps would immediately put Dallas within the top teams of the Western Conference. Throw in their effective role players and this lineup has the potential to bring Dallas back to their 2011 glory days.
Aside from the starting lineup, Gallinari brings matchup versatility for coach Rick Carlisle. His ability to play a couple positions while shooting 40% from three on 7.3 attempts will unlock championship caliber potential for this Mavericks lineup. An even better Luka Donicic and healthy Kristaps Porzingis will only compliment this group’s potential for the 2020-2021 season.
The Mavericks have limited cap space this summer, as they owe ten guaranteed salaries and await two player options. The chances of Dallas signing Gallo rest on the shoulders of… Tim Hardaway Jr.? If THJ declines his player option, an extra $19M in cap space will become available, neccesary money for Gallinari to even consider Dallas.
In a weak free-agency class, Gallinari is one of the hottest commodities. The 11-year vet has voiced his wish to join a team where he is the X-Factor that gets them over the playoff hump, and Dallas has exactly that waiting for him. Dallas and Gallo will have to wait until the money is right before even entering a discussion, but owner Mark Cuban is unafraid of doing whatever it takes to bring in another star.
Take a second and flashback to this year’s trade deadline. A potential three-team trade between Memphis, Miami, and OKC was nearly completed. This deal would have sent Gallinari to Miami, as he would fill the shoes of Meyers Leonard who would have been headed to OKC. The deal fell threw, but Miami could still covet Gallinari.
Miami is known for their constant pursuit of bringing free agents to South Beach but they are still prepping for the Giannis Antetokounmpo sweepstakes next offseason. The Heat could offer Gallo a one year deal around $24.9M per year. This would keep their cap clear enough to make a run at Giannis while retaining competitiveness for next season.
Gallo could be incentivized to take a one year deal, too. The unknowns of the salary cap for next season will impact free agency decisions. It might be in his best interest to reenter the market next offseason in search for a longer, more lucrative deal. The Heat should be ready to pounce if this is Gallinari’s intent.