Following an eight-month hiatus, the Atlanta Hawks put together a flurry of activity in short order. First, Travis Schlenk and the front office stayed put at No. 6 and No. 50 in the 2020 NBA Draft, landing USC’s Onyeka Okongwu and LSU’s Skylar Mays. From there, the Hawks pivoted to the trade market, sending Dewayne Dedmon to the Detroit Pistons and adding Tony Snell to the team’s wing rotation. Those transactions set the stage for the NBA’s free agency period, with the lights (finally) coming on with a 6:00 pm ET start on Friday, Nov. 20.
Within the first three hours, word broke from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Hawks were finalizing a three-year contract with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari on a deal worth $61.5 million.
Free agent F Danilo Gallinari is finalizing a three-year, $61.5M contract with the Atlanta Hawks, his agent Michael Tellem of CAA Sports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Though specific financial terms are unclear at this point, Gallinari’s reported total salary of $61.5 million dictates that his 2020-21 salary will land somewhere between $19,523,810 and $21,578,947. If the contract is for a flat $20.5 million annually, the Hawks would project to have approximately $24.4 million in salary cap space remaining for 2021, with $25.7 million available for the summer of 2022. From there, Wojnarowski notes that the investment in Gallinari is the most in NBA history to a player at his age without a single All-Star appearance.
In Gallinari, the Hawks land a piece that is certainly impactful on the offensive side of the floor, though his primary position of power forward is reportedly producing discussion around the league about Atlanta’s plans.
Hawks have now traded for Clint Capela, drafted Onyeka Okongwu, and signed (as had been rumored/expected) Gallinari. They played Hunter a fair bit at PF last season. A lot of other teams are wondering what this all means for John Collins. https://t.co/KNrBMZYhhk— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 21, 2020
The 32-year-old Gallinari, who stands at 6’10, was exclusively deployed at the power forward position for the Thunder last season. He averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, with Gallinari providing efficiency as a scorer in knocking 40.5 percent of his three-pointers (on 7.1 attempts per game) and posting a 61.2 percent true shooting.
You get the sense that Danilo Gallinari is a good offensive player. pic.twitter.com/YypEZrRwEV— AKelly (@andlankell) November 21, 2020
On the offensive end, Gallinari is unquestionably a high-level piece that can provide Atlanta with floor-spacing and the ability to take advantage of mismatches and isolation situations. He is also a strong cutter and passer for his position, with a well-rounded arsenal to help any team’s offense. For a team that struggled with long-range shooting and scoring (especially with Young on the bench) in 2019-20, Gallinari will provide an upgrade in myriad ways.
However, Gallinari is a below-average defender that isn’t a tremendously athletic player at this stage. That reality, in conjunction with his age, salary and position, will prompt questions about his fit alongside John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu in a suddenly crowded frontcourt.
Stay tuned for more, but the Hawks are now committed to a 32-year-old forward with an eye toward their publicly stated goal of making the playoffs in 2021.