The Portland Trail Blazers have long needed a third scorer to become title contenders. Packaging a deal for Danilo Gallinari may be their best option.
Following the recent implosion of the Oklahoma City Thunder, their assets have become available to the open market as they look to make the most of their historic war chest of draft assets. Danilo Gallinari was recently acquired in the trade that sent Paul George to the LA Clippers and should be at the top of the Portland Trail Blazers list of priorities.
Much like the often rumored trade target in Portland media Kevin Love, Gallinari is one of the league’s elite scorers that constantly struggles with injury issues. Fortunately, Gallinari comes with a much cheaper price tag attached and an expiring deal to avoid any long-term commitments.
Last year, Gallinari averaged 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds and played a key part in pushing the Clippers to the playoffs even after dumping Tobias Harris in a move that appeared to push the team towards a rebuilding state.
He also shot 43.3 percent from deep on 5.5 attempts per game, which was the fifth best mark in the league last year and would provide the Blazers with the spacing they’ve desperately needed in years prior.
To visualize what it would take to get this deal done, we must look at the semantics of this hypothetical trade.
In this context, it becomes much clearer determining the direction each team wishes to take in the immediate future. The Portland Trail Blazers will be gearing up for another playoff run and will want to keep their key players off the trade block. Meanwhile, the Thunder will look to make the most of their remaining assets while building up a new core from the ground up.
Therefore, the skeleton of trade discussions for Gallinari would likely begin looking something like this.
This move would net the Blazers an elite scorer for relatively little. This trade essentially swaps two bench players in Evan Turner (who was traded for Kent Bazemore) and Gary Trent Jr. into a player with borderline All-Star talent.
Losing next year’s draft pick hurts, but with how good Portland should be on paper it will be a late first-rounder in a point guard heavy draft class. With Damian Lillard locked into his supermax extension, it will be especially hard to find high value in the late first-round if the Blazers don’t wish to add another young point guard behind Anfernee Simons. That price tag is more than worth paying considering the quality of return Portland would get.
Meanwhile, this trade means the Thunder essentially swapped Paul George for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, six first-round draft picks and two pick swaps in what could go down as the biggest heist in the history of NBA trades.
Bazemore and Trent Jr. are both low-risk on expiring deals, with the potential upside of Trent Jr. figuring things out with a larger role on a rebuilding team. This move makes sense for both teams who collect valuable assets that won’t tie down the payroll for years to come.
The Thunder are clearly in the midst of a fire sale and the Portland Trail Blazers would have missed a huge opportunity to upgrade the team if they don’t buy low on Oklahoma City’s Italian talent.