Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is a target for the Boston Celtics, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Bulpett tweeted today that the Celtics and Nuggets have talked, but there is "nothing doing as of now," though it's something worth keeping an eye on. This is an idea previously floated as a "potentially corollary move" for the Celtics in a CelticsBlog article last week.
Gallinari was reportedly involved in trade talks before and during the draft and is an obvious target for a number of different reasons. The forward will be'll be 27-years-old this season and is on an expiring contract, making him an attractive small-risk, high-reward player. The Celtics also would benefit from consolidating their assets in order to balance the roster, making a young, talented player like Gallinari a strong option.
At 6'10, Gallinari brings the versatility to play both forward positions, which is a position of need for the Celtics. He has a career 36.7 three-point percentage, so he'd stretch the floor. He's also a solid ball handler and can comfortably run pick-and-rolls and score in isolation, taking pressure off Isaiah Thomas as the primary option. Gallinari has an unfortunate injury history, but has been productive when healthy.
While Denver's potential demand are unknown, assuming he is even available, it would make sense for the Celtics to trade one big and one ball handler for him, along with a future asset. I would be willing to offer Denver a package of Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner, and maybe James Young.
Sullinger could make a leap forward this year, making him a strong go-to option for the Nuggets. Turner is only working as a "block" for Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier's development at point guard, as well as R.J. Hunter's playing time -- he would only be a salary filler. And Young has already been far surpassed by Hunter on the depth chart, but he would receive more minutes with the Nuggets.
But the Nuggets would probably want more than that, since Gallinari could be a player that excels this season and draws significant interest at the trade deadline. That thought brings to mind Ainge's comments to Bulpett in Sunday's Boston Herald:
Danny Ainge: Veteran presence a plus for Celtics | Boston Herald
"I have no idea," Ainge said when asked if he expects the roster to be significantly different at the start of the year than it is now. "We’re still trying to do things that will help our team get better, but I like the group of guys we have right now."
The C’s president of basketball operations readily acknowledged the obvious — that his team has logjams at either end of the height spectrum among guards and bigs. He thinks it can be an issue when trying to create a proper rotation.
"I do," Ainge said, "but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sacrifice talent for better balance on our roster. I have to move my shortstop to second base maybe."
Ainge won't "sacrifice talent for better balance" on the roster, so he isn't going to sell the farm for an injury prone player on an expiring contract. Gallinari has a lot of talent, and has little risk if the price is reasonable, but a team should never overspend for a player with his injury history.
But Denver needs to get value, so it's reasonable for them to demand a first-round pick in return. Ultimately, the trade package detailed above with a future non-Brooklyn first-round pick is fair value. But including Avery Bradley or any of the Brooklyn firsts might be too risky of a move for Gallinari, when he could possibly be signed as a free agent next summer. What is being discussed, or not, between the Celtics and Nuggets is completely unknown, but stay tuned for more reports in the coming days and weeks.