Thunder predicted to reunite with veteran forward this summer

Thunder general manager Sam Presti joined the Spurs in 2000.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti joined the Spurs in 2000. thun / SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

Since the OKC Thunder were eliminated from the 2024 NBA Playoffs, rumors have been circulating quite frequently regarding what their offseason plans may be to position themselves better for a title run come next season.

From frontcourt-bolstering signings in free agency to entertaining reunions with beloved former players, considering the position they're in coupled with the desirable salary space they find themselves in possession of, Sam Presti and company have a real opportunity to strike on quite a few savvy moves in the coming months.

Recently, one idea proposed by Behind the Buck Pass' Dalton Sell sees Oklahoma City accomplishing two of the previously mentioned talking points of frontcourt strengthening and reuniting with a familiar face, as he predicts that the franchise will opt to bring veteran forward Danilo Gallinari back to Loud City on a low-risk minimum deal.

Thunder predicted to reunite with Danilo Gallinari this offseason

Citing his particular measurements (6-foot-10, 225 pounds) and overall experience in the association, Sell sees a Gallinari signing as a cost-efficient way of adding more size depth to their rotation, all while bringing on a presence with familiarity of overachieving with the Thunder organization in the process.

"The forward, having split last season between three teams, didn't dazzle anywhere, and he wouldn't be viewed as a game-changer for OKC. However, he could be a nice depth addition to this roster, giving them an experienced veteran capable of playing both of the forward positions and center.

Gallinari is no stranger to Oklahoma City, having played there during the 2019-20 season, where he was a key cog for them. He wouldn't be tasked with providing such production this time around, but such a young team could use a veteran who could serve as a depth piece while providing leadership. On a minimum deal, it would be low-risk."

Dalton Sell

Though well removed from his prime that saw him averaging a whopping 18.7 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting from deep during his 2019-20 stint with the surprise fifth-seeded Thunder, the 35-year-old is still a solid and versatile player who has proven to still have the ability to contribute to winning ways in a limited fashion.

In a simplistic approach to viewing Gallinari, think of him as a more offensively skilled Mike Muscala who can slot in down at the four or out on the wing.

2023-24 was his first season back after missing the entirety of 2022-23 with a torn ACL and, though his overall numbers of 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists may have left much to be desired, as the year progressed he went on to show flashes of promise in his game and strength returning to form (posted 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 58.3 percent shooting from deep during his brief mid-season stint with the Pistons) and, interestingly enough, saw just nine fewer minutes of playoff action than Gordon Hayward did in four fewer opportunities.

As Sell stated in his piece, the idea of reuniting with Gallinari shouldn't be seen as a "game-changer" decision for the Thunder, for his best days are without question behind him.

Nevertheless, assuming he's come at the low price of a veteran minimum deal, with his track record as a scoring threat along with his experience already contributing to winning ways out in Oklahoma City, the concept of signing the veteran forward should be worth contemplating as we approach the start of free agency.