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2021-22 Atlanta Hawks player review: Danilo Gallinari

2022 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Our 2021-22 Atlanta Hawks player review series continues with a look at the season of veteran forward Danilo Gallinari.

If you quickly glanced at Danilo Gallinari’s stats over the past few seasons, you’d see a bit of a decline in the numbers. Gallinari posted his lowest PPG total (11.7) since his rookie season in 2021-22, but there’s a bit of context to that. It appeared to take the veteran a month or two to get into a rhythm this season.

In his first 18 games of the 2021-22 season, Gallinari averaged just 7.9 points per game on 38.1% shooting from the floor. If you take those games out and only include his final 48 games played, he averaged just over 13 points per game like he did last season. His shot attempts per game remained around nine per game, down from the 12-13 shots a night he was getting in recent seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.

When healthy, Gallinari, while maybe a bit slower than he was a few years ago, is still a very talented offensive player and weapon. There were quarters and even games this season Gallinari took over offensively, mostly with his shooting of course. Overall though, it was a tough season for the veteran. His defense continued to tail off, and he is very limited in terms of both who he guard and who he can play with due to his lack of mobility. He is still a very good shooter and a high IQ player, and can definitely contribute to a contending team in the right role.

The Hawks have an interesting decision on Gallinari coming up, which will obviously be a big decision in regards to whether he is on the team again next season. The third year of the three-year, $61 million contract Gallinari signed with the Hawks in 2020 is a team option with a $5 million buyout. If Gallinari is bought out, he would have received nearly $45 million for his two seasons with the Hawks, with the Hawks being off the hook for the final year of the deal after the buy-out. Atlanta has to choose whether to exercise the option or the buy-out by June 29.

It appears difficult to envision Travis Schlenk & company allocating over $20 million to Gallinari on next season’s roster given the team’s short comings in 2021-22. Getting Gallinari off the books may be the very first thing the Hawks do this offseason as they try to rekindle the flame from the run to the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2021 postseason.

More defensive minded players may be on the wish list for Atlanta this offseason as they continue to try to build a perennial contender around Trae Young. The Hawks may choose to exercise the option however if they don’t think they will be able to do much with the savings. Gallinari’s contract could also provide as good filler in a trade, as there would be no restriction upon them exercising the contract. He would be eligible to be traded immediately.

What the future has in store for Gallinari remains to be seen but should clear up in the next month or so. The Hawks have options, and are pretty well stocked in the frontcourt with John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu all under contract for next season.