Pending free agent Danilo Gallinari could interest Celtics

With the Celtics magical 2016-17 campaign coming to an end in the Eastern Conference Finals, the attention of the franchise has turned towards the offseason. Much like last summer, Boston is loaded with trade assets, high draft picks and plentiful cap space should they wish to make any improvements to their current roster.

With Boston lucking into the 1st pick of this summer’s NBA Draft, which is presumably going to be Markelle Fultz, the same sort of certainty hasn’t been relayed to their free-agent targets. Bar Gordon Hayward, no one knows what the Celtics are planning. Are they planning to move some cap space for a run at another marquee free agent? Or will they simply focus on filling out the roster with useful bench players?

One player who will be on the market that Danny Ainge may take a look at is Danilo Gallinari. The Denver Nuggets forward is expected to opt out of his current deal and take advantage of the inflated salary cap. Gallinari is due to make $16 million for next year but according to Adrian Wojnarowski will instead go in search of a more secure, long-term contract.

The tweener forward has struggled in the past with knee problems but is still a key player when healthy, averaging 18.2 points per game & 5.2 rebounds per game. He’s also shown the ability to be a reliable three point threat, shooting 37% from beyond the arc for his career. His injury concerns will scare some teams off when contracts start getting handed out at the start of July, and the Celtics will be aware of those issues. As talented as Gallinari is, he’s only played over 70 games once since 2010. The 28-year-old will likely demand a contract of 4 years, 80 million thus proving to be a risky investment for any NBA team.

In terms of talent, Gallinari may even be a better option than Hayward. Both players average around 15 points per game for their career though Gallinari posts better numbers in three-point and free-throw shooting. Should Boston miss out on their prime target, they could do a lot worse than have Gallinari as a Plan B. If they can convince him to take a pay cut or a shorter contract, then he becomes a realistic target.

Credit to Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports
Credit to Russ Isabella/ USA Today Sports