OKC Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari on charity, NBA return and free agency

JANUARY 22: Danilo Gallinari #8 of the OKC Thunder on the court against the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
JANUARY 22: Danilo Gallinari #8 of the OKC Thunder on the court against the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari guested on NBA Game Time discussing his pandemic experience, charity, potential season return, and free agency.

This week marked the first time since the suspension OKC Thunder players were able to return to the Thunder Ion practice facility. Of those who conducted workouts was Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari. The Italian said “I was the happiest kid in OKC” as he got up shots.

In an appearance on NBA Game Time the forward shared his experience during the pandemic and discussed how the team will prepare to resume play.

Even prior to the coronavirus hitting North America, Gallinari was well aware of how dangerous it was given his roots in Italy. Gallo was one of the first in the NBA to state it wouldn’t be surprising to see sports suspended and wasn’t sure the NBA would return this season. That seems less likely now that the COVID-19 curve has flattened in virtually every state.

During the pandemic Gallinari stayed in close touch with his family who was living in an area hit hard in Italy. His mother had to stay alone unable to see or visit anyone. Gallo said it was hardest for her due to the mental stress of being alone for the duration of the quarantine.  After three months of intensive stay at home orders his mother and family are finally able to get out a bit and visit.

OKC Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari on resuming play and free agency:

For the past few months the Thunder forward was active both in the states and Italy via his philanthropic efforts. Donations were made in Italy and in OKC he funded testing kits. Gallo told Greg Anthony and Jared Greenberg about his charitable acts and noted how great it was to see the results have a palpable effect locally in OKC.

Optimism for a return of the NBA is building although fans will have to catch the action from home. As we noted yesterday on June 1st the league will send guidelines for how to proceed as the association prepares to return.

Gallinari noted he’s excited for a resumption of gameplay but emphasized the importance of making sure things are as safe as possible.

"“Like everybody knows, this virus is no joke. If we do it, we need to do it in a safe environment.”"

For now, OKC Thunder players will continue to get up shots and is thrilled to have some sense of normalcy in their lives. Once further restrictions are loosened the team will be able to scrimmage.

Greenberg asked how Gallo how he thinks the Thunder will perform upon return and how deep they can get in the postseason.

The Thunder forward touched on how great OKC was playing at the time of the suspension. He notes this type of stoppage could initially hurt but he expects the chemistry the team built through 64 games to shine through.

"“We were on a great run and so a two-month stop of course is not going to help. But you know the chemistry that we created and the way that we want to play, we already know what we want to do and the way we want to play, “That chemistry is just a matter of a couple of days or a couple of games to get back to that. and of course the goal is to get the home court advantage”"

More from Thunderous Intentions

To close out the interview Anthony teased Gallinari about his free agency asking if he’d potentially return to a former team (he meant the Knicks). The interesting takeaway here is Gallo sounds to be open to a return with the OKC Thunder. At least in his answer the big man spoke glowingly about his experience this season with the team and franchise.

Undoubtedly, Gallinari will be among the most sought after free agents in this offseason. However, with the pandemic, it’s expected the salary cap will take a hit and players like Gallo may be more inclined to sign one-year or short term deals. That could also put the Thunder in the driver seat as they could do a sign and trade with the big man. Or they could sign him and run it back or see how things go initially and then trade him at the deadline.

Once again the Paul George trade appears to be the best thing the franchise has ever done given the draft picks and assets the team got in return for one player. Sure, Gallo would leave without the sign and trade but listening to this interview it sounds like the sniper is pretty happy in OKC.

dark. Next. Danilo Gallinari 5 best games feature scoring masterclass