Gallinari has made over $130 million in his career as he heads to free agency at 32 years of age. He’s stated a desire to contend next season when speaking at Festival dello Sport.
The veteran forward has never made it past the first round of the NBA playoffs, and looks destined for pastures new as the Oklahoma City Thunder finally head into a rebuild after the pleasant surprise of their 2019-20 playoff push.
These are three teams who could be in the mix for Gallinari.
Change of heart
The Miami Heat were so close to landing Gallinari at the trade deadline. Unable to agree on an extension, the Heat ended up with Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder instead. Miami faces big free agent decisions over Crowder and Goran Dragic this offseason. Depending on how those work out, they could go back for Gallinari.
Gallinari turned down a one-plus-one offer from the Heat at the deadline, similar to what Iguodala accepted. It would take a major change of heart from the former Clippers forward if he’s to end up in Miami, but his comments about having a desire to win might change his attitude towards a one-year deal. The Heat didn’t look a title contender when they were trying to offer Gallinari an extension at the trade deadline, but they have proven themselves as legitimate challengers in the Eastern Conference – maybe that makes Gallinari reconsider.
The Heat are not going to compromise 2021 cap space for Gallo. He’s going to have to take a one-year deal, and it’s a question of how much he can get paid for 2020-21. On an already exciting offensive team, the fit is great. He would give Erik Spoelstra yet another shooter – Gallinari is a smart off-ball player who could take full advantage of Bam Adebayo‘s passing.
Joining a dynasty
The Golden State Warriors are back. If Gallinari wants to chase a ring, the Warriors are the best option. Golden State has Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green rested and ready to go. They’re armed with the second overall pick.
A sign-and-trade might be the best way to get a deal done, with the Warriors absorbing Gallinari into their $17 million trade exception. Gallinari has claimed that money isn’t a priority, but how much of a cut is he willing to take?
What about a scenario where the Warriors draft James Wiseman second overall, filling their need at the five. Would Gallinari take the mid-level with Golden State? Would he be happy to play a sixth man role if it gives him the best shot at a ring?
The prospect of adding another elite shooter alongside Curry and Thompson will terrify defences across the league. Gallinari would be comfortable sharing the frontcourt with Green or sliding down to the three in line-ups alongside a proper centre and Green.
Team up with Luka
Kristaps Porzingis’ injuries are a growing concern. Dwight Powell suffered a torn Achilles in January. Gallinari would flourish offensively alongside the masterful playmaking of Luka Doncic, but Dallas, like Miami, will only be willing to offer Gallinari a one-year deal.
The Mavericks arguably have the brightest future in the NBA, and an argument can be made for them as title contenders next season. Doncic is that good.
Rick Carlisle masterminded the most efficient offence in league history last season. Gallinari would make the Mavs an even better offensive team.
The defensive fit is a concern, of course. Gallinari struggled at times in the playoffs on the defensive end, and Dallas was already a subpar defensive team. Pairing Gallo with Doncic would be scintillating at one end, but that offensive magic might not be worth the pain on defence. At least they’ve got size on their side – Gallinari is 6’10, Doncic is 6’7.