Danilo Gallinari talked about his future during the “Festival dello Sport” in Italy: «Is playing for the NBA Championship more important than a contract? Yes. At this time, yes. I’m not twenty anymore».
Danilo Gallinari NBA 2021 / 2022
Fast forward to new season and Danilo Gallinari’s future with the Atlanta Hawks remains uncertain as we draw closer to the 29 June deadline. Gallinari is entering the third and final year of his $61,425,000 contract, but of the remaining $21.4 only $5 million is fully guaranteed.
Rumours of a move have been almost constant this season, with suggestions that the Hawks could sacrifice him in the name of saving some money on the NBA luxury tax. Pundits have argued since the last offseason that a Gallo trade would make sense for the Hawks, and back in February it was reported that they were in talks with the Toronto Raptors for a potential move.
Until now, however, the Italian has remained with the Georgia team, and as the season ended, he has made noncommittal comments about seeing out his current contract. What will happen remains to be seen. For some reason bookies in Finland have noticed this and are offering bets on his current status, and for quick 2022 payments with Brite they are offering good payouts.
The rumours this time last year seemed very convincing towards a move, so there is no guarantee that Gallinari is going anywhere this time either.
It has been a very uneven season for the Hawks, reflected in their mid-table finish and failure to make the playoffs. Back in November they had a run of six losses followed by seven wins. Then an outbreak of covid over the holiday season forced GM Travis Schlenk to recruit some emergency ten-day contract players. During this time the Hawks briefly set the record for the largest roster in the history of the NBA.
The season was marked by an apparent loss of motivation that seemed to spread to all the players. Gallinari, who made headlines with his signing, acquitted himself well but only set the court on fire on a handful of occasions. Most of the media hype around the Hawks has been focused on 23-year-old Trae Young, and Gallinari’s name has been mentioned more in relation to his future than to his basketball.
The veteran forward’s two seasons with the Hawks have both been patchy, with his first marred by an ankle injury and Gallo suffering from having a badly-defined role on the team. That improved somewhat towards the end of his first run, but despite that later success it was still a surprise to many that the Hawks held on to him.
Probably hoping that a veteran player would work well to steady some of the youngsters on the roster, the Hawks pinned some of their playoff hopes on Gallo. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, and the Atlanta team’s hopes came to an end on April 27 when Miami Heat won the final game of their series and advanced to the eastern conference semis. Gallinari’s 12 points were not enough to save the game that day.
This season with the Hawks saw Gallo averaging 11.7 points, 1.5 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game, with average shooting from the three-point at 38%
Reporting in Italy seems more certain that Gallinari will be moving on from the Hawks, and it is clear that his home country would be delighted to have him back. After five teams and fourteen years in the NBA, could it be time for Gallo to head back to his roots?
He is certainly looking forward to EuroBasket in September, where he will get the chance to play some matches in front of crowds in his home city of Milan. Gallo has previously competed in 2011 and 2015, but Italy has not won the competition since 1999. Perhaps the support of the Italian fans will spur the Azzuri to victory in 2022.