Gallinari spent all of last season with the Thunder, where he averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, all while shooting 40.5% from three. The 32-year-old was rumored to have several suitors entering free agency, though Atlanta—which has missed the playoffs three straight years—was one of the few teams with significant cap space. Let’s grade the deal.
This signing caused a little bit of a debate! I initially balked harder at the deal, but was talked down a cliff by my colleague Jeremy Woo. I think roughly $20 million a year is just a touch rich for Gallinari, though he’s proven very capable of being a valuable member of a good team. Gallo’s three-point shooting is elite, he can score in other ways, and he’s a willing defender. The Hawks are clearly very desperate to make the playoffs, and a Capela-Gallinari frontline sounds promising on paper—even if Capela will have to do the bulk of the rebounding. Another veteran presence should also help with all the younger players on the roster.
I still have some pause at Atlanta signing a 32-year-old when the heart of the roster still needs some work. Obviously the Hawks need quality players in order to make a jump up, but I would have preferred the fit of someone like Bogdan Bogdanovic—back on the market and briefly linked to Atlanta—who can develop on a more similar timeline to Trae Young.
If the goal is to simply make the playoffs once, Atlanta is closer to that goal now. While the year number for a talent like Gallo may be worth it for a player of his caliber, it may not make as much sense for a team that ultimately needs to set Young up for long-term success.