Following a disappointing start, the Portland Trail Blazers have been linked in rumors to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari.
After a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season, Portland now has a losing record (.400) and are two games back of the playoff picture this year. It has been a tough time for Portland, though they seem more likely to add trade assets like Gallinari rather than ship off bigger pieces like CJ McCollum.
Based on recent reporting from Kevin O’Connor, all of the veterans on the Thunder, including Gallinari, are available in trade talks (via The Ringer):
“OKC remains a playoff contender even after trading Westbrook and Paul George last offseason. The Thunder are just 11-12, but that’s good enough today for the 7-seed in the West. Despite their moderate success, plans haven’t changed; Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams and other veterans are all available, according to league sources … Portland is expected to pursue Oklahoma City’s Danilo Gallinari, according to league sources. The Blazers have options to help save their season following the Carmelo Anthony Band-Aid.”
Gallinari has produced 1.14 points per possession for the Thunder this season, via Synergy Sports, which ranks in the 91st percentile among all NBA players. He was one of the more effective players in the NBA last season, too, as we wrote in March:
When identifying the market for Gallinari, however, one of the traits to look for is teams’ tempo. According to Synergy, Gallinari ranks in the 93rd percentile in a set offense but just in the 18th percentile in a transition offense.
Perhaps the main reason why this would be a good fit for Portland is that only one team (the Cleveland Cavaliers) finishes possessions in transitions less often than the Trail Blazers.
Similarly, the most commonly-used five-man lineup for Portland has played at one of the slowest paces in the league. That pace (99.6) is nearly identical to what Gallinari has averaged (99.9) for Oklahoma City.
However, he would also provide an offensive weapon that they are desperately missing after the devastating injury to Rodney Hood. Before he suffered a season-ending torn Achilles, Hood was the most prolific spot-up shooter for Portland.
As such, the Trail Blazers need another catch-and-shoot option waiting on the perimeter. Gallinari has averaged 7.4 points per game off the catch for Oklahoma City, which ranks fifth-best in the NBA. Portland has scored the second-fewest points per game on catch-and-shoot opportunities, which is where Gallinari can provide immediate relief.
Portland is also shooting just 58.7 percent at the rim, per Cleaning the Glass, which currently ranks as the fifth-worst in the NBA. Gallinari, meanwhile, is shooting a career-best 68 percent in this zone.
For a team that will need immediate scoring relief without Hood available, the Trail Blazers would have plenty of use for Gallinari. The question would only be what they could offer but his fit is there without question.