Yesterday, impending free agent Danilo Gallinari posted a picture on Twitter, with the four uniforms he has worn in his NBA career — the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Above the picture, Gallinari wrote, “Where to next?”
Where to next? pic.twitter.com/oWxB7npu3S— DANILO GALLINARI (@gallinari8888) October 20, 2020
The Miami Heat, of course, nearly traded for Gallinari at the February trade deadline last season. The Heat’s desire to preserve cap flexibility in 2021 emerged as a stumbling block.
Miami and reps for OKC’s Danilo Gallinari were working on a contract extension overnight to help finalize three-team trade, league sources tell ESPN. The challenge: Miami’s desire to preserve cap space for 2021. He can become a free agent this summer.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
Pat RIley said that Gallinari “would have fit in here really well.” In a post-deadline column, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said that the 6-foot-10 Italian would have been “the perfect player to round out Miami’s closing lineup.” Now, Jae Crowder offered the shooting Miami hoped to get from Gallinari plus sturdy defense through the Heat’s upset win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
But then Crowder cooled off from 3. After shooting an incredible 43 percent from beyond the arc on high volume — 10.2 attempts per game — in the second round, the former Marquette forward fell to 12-of-47 (25.5 percent) in the Eastern Conference Finals and 13-for-39 (33.3 percent) in the Finals.
Do the Heat even view Gallinari as a target anymore, instead hoping that Crowder can become a more consistent 3-point shooter and offer the defensive versatility to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo? Or will Miami try to sell Gallinari on a short contract — either a one-year deal or a two-year contract with the second year as a team option — just months after he turned down the same extension Andre Iguodala took?
Miami’s run to the NBA Finals could work in their favor. The 32-year-old said in a recent interview that playing for a championship is more important than a contract.