Bobby Marks: Expect Retaining Gallinari to be on Thunder's to-do List

ESPN is saying that keeping Danilo Gallinari should be one of the Thunder's most significant priorities this off-season. We'll tell you if it's realistic and why letting him go could work in Oklahoma City's favor.
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With so many questions surrounding the Thunder this off-season, it's hard to know which priority is getting top billing. Logic would say it's taking care of Billy Donovan, first, followed by any roster movement that might be made during free agency. 

One move that could happen is Sam Presti choosing to let go of  32-year old Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari was the third-leading scorer on the Thunder this season (18.7 points per game) and only missed 12 games.

Other than a four-game stretch with a sore left ankle, most of his time off came on the second of back-to-back games. There isn't any doubt Sam Presti would love to keep Gallinari and his 40 percent three-point shooting, but how much is he going to cost, and how long do you want someone north of 30 under contract? 

Gallinari will be coveted by playoff teams looking for that last piece to a championship run. However, with there being uncertainty surrounding the 2020-2021 salary cap, Gallinari likely won't get as much as he would have in a typical year. 

That could play to the Thunder's advantage if they are willing to pay more than some teams because they will have the cap space. ESPN's Bobby Marks Says:

"Factoring in their 12 players under contract and their draft pick, the Thunder is $25 million below the luxury tax line."... "A two-year, $32 million contract, starting at $15.4 million, would give Oklahoma City flexibility to use most of its $9.3 million midlevel exception or one of its two trade exceptions: $10.4 and $9.4 million."... "Both exceptions expire at the end of October."

According to Marks, the Heat are going to be the only other playoff team with any cap room, and the Thunder almost shipped him to Maimai before the deadline. It's doubtful at his age Gallinari would want to play for the other four teams with cap space (Hawks, Knicks, Hornets, and Pistons) unless there is some ground-shaking roster turnover. 

The Thunder could explore a sign and trade if they and Gallinari don't come to terms on a new deal. Sam Presti must decide if Darius Bazley needs another year coming off the bench. 

If the answer is no, then you don't bring Gallinari back for any price. If the answer is yes, then make a team-friendly deal and look to trade him for something that will garner younger players or more draft picks. 

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.