The Atlanta Hawks could be moving on from Danilo Gallinari

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks‘ surprise Eastern Conference last season run did not come out of thin air. Travis Schlenk made some brilliant moves last offseason to put the Hawks in immediate contention coming off the long rebuild.

Bringing on Nate McMillian as an assistant to Lloyd Pierce sticks out in hindsight, but the personnel moves grabbed all the headlines last season. The signing of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Solomon Hill, and Danilo Gallinari were all new additions to a roster already full of young talent.

Since the start of this free agency, the Hawks have committed a lot of money to the players of the future. Trae Young and John Collins were both inked to lucrative, long-term deals that will tie up a lot of funds for the Hawks. What does this mean for the future of Gallinari?

What does the future hold for Danilo Gallinari and the Atlanta Hawks

He was a bold move for the Hawks. Acquired in a sign-and-trade with the OKC Thunder last offseason, Gallinari was thought to be a fantastic addition to a team that was desperate for shooting and spacing the floor.

Before the Hawks trade, Gallinari had back-to-back fantastic seasons firstly with the Clippers and then the Thunder. He was maintaining his mid-to-high 40 percent on his threes while starting 60 plus games in both seasons. Coming to Atlanta, the big man looked to be primed for a big season.

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When the season started, Gallinari did not have a defined role with the team. Former head coach Lloyd Pierce started the season with Gallinari in the lineup for the opening game against the Chicago Bulls but that was potentially due to Clint Capela being out.

An ankle injury sustained in the first few games of the season would hamper the sharp-shooter for the first two months of the Hawks season. For December and January, Gallinari was hardly featured due to the nagging ankle injury.

After returning from injury, Gallinari quickly reminded the Hawks why they invested so much into the big man with the shooting touch. Coming off this injury, getting him back in the lineup felt like a midseason acquisition that gave the Hawks the shot in the arm they needed, particularly off the bench. With a clear and defined role, he began to find his home in the offense, quickly becoming a vital contributor to the Hawks’ late-season success.

Now, with the offseason dust settling, the Hawks are a lot more cash strapped than they were last season. Trae Young was still on his rookie deal and John Collins was in the final year of his contract. Now, the Hawks are very committed to their two young cornerstones for many years to come. They will look to trim some fat from the budget. Gallinari could be one of the first dominoes to fall.

Over the last week, multiple reports have been circling that Gallinari was being shopped, or at least was drawing some interest as a trade piece. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been mentioned as the most likely landing spot for the big man if a trade was going to happen. The Wolves are still a young team, similar to the Hawks, who need a player who can space the floor and hit some threes for them. Gallinari could be a perfect fit for the Wolves.

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What makes Gallinari even more attractive is the contract he is currently on. He has two years remaining with around $42.0 million owed to him over the next two years. The kicker is the second year is partially guaranteed for only $5.0 million dollars. That makes him a very valuable trade piece if the Wolves continue to be at the bottom of the West.

It’s all rumor at this point of the season but it would make a lot of sense to move on from Gallo for the financial reasons and the depth reasons. The roster is full of young talent like De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish and the new arrivals from the Hawks got from the NBA Draft last month. Gallo has turned himself into a valuable asset after the success he and the Hawks both experienced. Now would be the time to move on from Gallinari if the right deal presented itself.