From Gordon Hayward to Derrick Jones Jr., Davis Bertans and Jerami Grant, the Atlanta Hawks have been linked to myriad free agents in advance of the NBA’s offseason frenzy. Given that the Hawks enter the off-season with the most salary cap space in the NBA at more than $43.6 million, that is no surprise, and Atlanta is making it known that the 2021 playoffs are a legitimate goal of the franchise. With that in mind, another name recently emerged, with Marc Stein of the New York Times reporting that “rival teams” believe the Hawks could be in “pole position” to acquire free agent forward Danilo Gallinari.
There is a growing belief among rival teams that Atlanta will be in pole position for Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo when free agency begins later this week, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 18, 2020
As @NYTSports reported on Oct. 28, Rondo is also poised to receive strong interest from the Clippers
As Stein notes, the Hawks are also tied to Rajon Rondo, with multiple reports indicating that Atlanta could show interest. The buzz on Gallinari is new, however, and certainly interesting to note.
Gallinari, who is 32 years old, is a 12-year NBA veteran with high-level experience and aptitude. He spent the 2019-20 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, acting as a key cog on a playoff team, and Gallinari averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while 40.5 percent from three-point range on a career-high 7.1 attempts per game. In zooming out, Gallinari has averaged 18.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the last five seasons, converting 39.6 percent of his threes in the process, and he is a bonafide offensive threat that can score at multiple levels.
Because the Hawks are one of only a (small) handful of teams with the ability to offer Gallinari more than the mid-level exception without engaging on a sign-and-trade, Atlanta is a natural team to equate with a potential pursuit. With that said, it isn’t a perfect, as Gallinari is primarily a power forward at this stage and he is a below-average defensive player. As such, it would be curious to see what the Hawks’ plan would be for his deployment in a frontcourt that already includes John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Clint Capela and others.
For the right price, it could be quite interesting to add Gallinari’s offensive profile to Atlanta’s roster, and he would make the Hawks even more potent on that end of the floor. However, the fit questions could be enough to give the team pause, and it will be interesting to see if this potential partnership comes together.