Basketball

Report: Celtics to sign Danilo Gallinari to 2-year/$13M MLE deal

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN,Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, and Davide Chinellato Danilo Gallinari has decided to sign with the Boston Celtics for the tax-payer mid-level exception ($6.5M annually) on a two-year deal with a player option for the second year.

Can confirm that Danilo Gallinari plans to sign with the Celtics after clearing waivers, as @wojespn said.

— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) July 1, 2022

Gallinari was part of the blockbuster trade between the San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks that saw three first rounders and the Italian forward go to San Antonio in exchange for Dejounte Murray. Gallo was never part of the plan for the Spurs, so after negotiating a buyout, his reported choices came down to the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics. After the Bulls used a portion of the non-taxpayer MLE on Andre Drummond, Gallinari evidently preferred the fit and opportunity of the Celtics over anything else.

Gallinari is a 6’10” forward who can shoot the ball exceptionally well, and he uses his size to hunt for mismatches and get himself to the rim. Last season, he averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 43/38/90 shooting splits. He’s an excellent shooter from all ranges on the floor, and that’s aided by his ability to literally shoot over most opposition. As a career 38% shooter from behind the three-point line, his ability there will be appreciated.

Danilo Gallinari easily fills a need for the Celtics – bench scoring. He can get a bucket when needed, whether that’s in spot-up opportunities or by creating over mismatches. He’s the first shoe to drop as Brad Stevens and the front office tries to reshape the bench that failed the starters in the NBA Finals as the Celtics were just two wins away from a championship. While Gallo’s defense leaves much to be desired, bench players don’t have to be perfect. He fills a need, and despite aging, he’ll be a great weapon to use off the bench.

The second-year player option isn’t ideal from a team perspective, especially at Gallo’s age, but that’s pretty much a prerequisite for MLE deals these days.

With the MLE off the board, the Celtics will be mostly restricted to using veteran minimum contracts and trade considerations. The Celtics have a host of TPEs available, including the Evan Fournier TPE that’s worth over $17M that expires on July 18th. The team can potentially get a big upgrade for the bench there in addition to Gallinari, so it’ll be interesting to see how the front office navigates its next move.

Here’s a classic move by Gallinari to endear himself to his next fanbase:

We’ll see how the next two weeks unfold!

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