With the back and forth in the locker room between Shai Glegous-Alexander and Chris Paul, it would seem fitting that these two would spend all their time together. At 34, Paul may need a bit of respite from the guard 13 years his junior; this is where Danilo Gallinari comes in.
Speaking during last week's All-Star events, Paul was asked about his relationship with the Thunder forward. "Gallo? That's my man. Me and Gallo really got close this season."..."We sit next to each other on the bus. We're the only two on the team that's 30 years old or older."... "At this point in our careers, we can appreciate each other."
Paul and Gallinari came to Oklahoma City with uncertain futures, and up until about 11 am central on February 6th, Gallinari was on his way to Miami while Paul was seemingly stuck in limbo till another team wanted to take on his contract.
There aren't two other players in Oklahoma City that have as much riding on this season as they do. Knowing retirement is closer for them than any of their teammates, the sense of urgency becomes more apparent. Having someone you can relate to even for just a chat on a bus, can bring a much-needed perspective after facing a frustrating loss or an exhilarating win.
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Because this team has a lot of growing to do, Paul and Gallinari's presence becomes more valuable. Just like Derick Fisher and Kendrick Perkins before them, Gallinari and Paul are here to show the young core how to become an NBA team.
Thunder/Nuggets Friday at 7 pm on ESPN and Fox Sports Oklahoma.