Danilo Gallinari opens door to re-sign with OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder's Danilo Gallinari #8 puts up a shot over Jerami Grant #9 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder's Danilo Gallinari #8 puts up a shot over Jerami Grant #9 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari offers great insights on his feelings about the team and his potential future situation via an interview with the Daily Thunder

When the OKC Thunder jettisoned Paul George to the LA Clippers they got back a haul of draft picks. The bonus was nabbing youngster Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and veteran stretch four Danilo Gallinari.

Shortly afterward, Russell Westbrook was traded to the Rockets again for a fistful of picks and savvy, underappreciated point guard Chris Paul.

It’s amazing how a narrative can drive how situations are viewed. For example, because Chris Paul had seemingly dealt with a tenuous relationship with James Harden and suffered some hamstring issues everyone assumed he was on the constant regression track of an older player.

Likewise, expectations were Danilo Gallinari would only be in Oklahoma City until early February.

That was a fair assessment given Gallo is in the final year of his contract which makes him an unrestricted free agent this summer. Part of what added to the belief the Italian would be traded was his stated desire to join a title contending team. He emphasized that factor would take greater precedence for him than money.

On trade deadline day we learned the OKC Thunder and Miami Heat were in discussions to trade the power forward. The deal fell through due to Pat Riley‘s reluctance to guarantee a two-year term. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald confirmed this was the case in an interview with Riley:

"▪ Is he disappointed about not getting Danilo Gallinari?“Yes. I wanted everything. But I wasn’t going to — nor was Micky [Arison] — Andy [Elisburg], Nick [Arison] — [going to] compromise a two-year plan. You’ve got to take some risks here; you never know what’s going to work out. I like Gallo. I think he would have fit in really well. But it didn’t work out.” (The Heat didn’t want to give him a guaranteed 2021-22 contract that would have cut into their cap space that summer)."

It’s also logical that Sam Presti would kick the tires to see what was available. We still don’t know what offer was on the table for Gallinari from Miami or if there was a third team involved. It’s a moot point now since he remained in OKC. (Hallelujah!)

Moving forward, he’ll still be a free agent this summer but the Thunder might have the upper hand more than originally suspected.

Notably, very few teams have positioned themselves to have cap space this summer and the majority who do are lottery teams. Then factor in the Thunder owns Gallo’s bird rights.

Part of the reason why most thought Presti would deal the Italian was the assumption he would definitely leave this summer whether it was via sign and trade or on his own via a direct free agent signing. Again, that was based on Gallinari’s own words about wanting to join a title contender.

That was until the big man offered evidence to the contrary. Rachael Jamison of Daily Thunder offers an article highlighting Daily Thunder host Brandon Rahbar‘s interview with Gallinari. Rahbar hits all the right buttons and Gallo’s responses offer great insights.

Rahbar asks Gallo his thoughts on remaining with the Thunder post trade deadline:

"“I really wanted to stay to stay here. [It would be] tough to leave such a great atmosphere, great teammates, a group that is winning… I wanted to stay.”"

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Recently, Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder and others have discussed the camaraderie on the team so his thoughts are in line with everyone else. Arguably the bigger takeaway is “a group that is winning”.

That tidbit opens the door to his belief the Thunder could be THAT TEAM who competes for a title. Although he doesn’t commit to saying that it sure sounds like he believes in this squad. And perhaps, more importantly, his comments suggest he trusts the direction of the team and Sam Presti to keep them competitive.

Gallo’s next response seems to align with this thinking as Rahbar asks him about the summer and the potential of re-signing:

"“I hope so. It’s not the time now to talk with the team. But in the summer, it’s going to be interesting for me… Definitely, it could be a great option for me to stay here.”"

In fairness, he’s a pro so he’s not going to say – nope not interested. However, the “I hope so” portion of his response indicates his desire is to return and work something out.

It’s no secret the writing team at TI has pined for Gallo to remain in OKC and barring a trade that lands a younger version of Gallo that won’t change.

For now, we’re happy to know Gallinari seems to want to keep the band together.

Next. NBA 2020 Mock Draft 1.0 – Options abound for Thunder. dark

Make sure to check out the full podcast as Gallo discusses his relationship with Kobe Bryant, his favorite Thunder teammate, the “United Nations” clutch lineup, his Mom’s culinary excellence and much more.