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Danilo Gallinari sends bold message to Celtics

On a recent episode on his podcast, “A Cresta Alta,” Danilo Gallinari talks about his return to Boston after being traded to the Washington Wizards this summer.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Danilo Gallinari signed a two-year deal, worth $13.3 million with the Celtics in 2022. In early September of that year, Gallinari tore his left ACL. The forward never saw court time in Boston after he became a footnote in the trade that sent Marcus Smart to Memphis and Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics.

Gallinari, a fourteen-year veteran, expressed some sense of revenge on his recent podcast, A Cresta Alta. When asked about the Celtics, he responded, “as soon as the schedule comes out, I will put an X for every time I will play against Boston.”

The former 6th overall pick was drafted by the New York Knicks in the 2008 NBA Draft. Gallinari played with the Knicks for three seasons and was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2011. From then on, the big man was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers July of 2017, and was later acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Atlanta Hawks.

Since his tenure with the Denver Nuggets, Gallinari was part of a significant trade package, that sent Spurs guard, Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks. He was later waived by San Antonio and in free agency, he fulfilled a childhood dream and joined the Celtics.

The deal was fully guaranteed and included a player option that he picked up prior to being unceremoniously dealt to DC. In his introductory press conference with the Celtics, Gallinari made it clear why he chose Boston as his next destination.

“It’s that time for me. It’s always been about winning for me. Even when I was younger, it was always about winning. Especially right now when you get to this stage, 33 about to be 34, it’s what you want, and it’s something that you work on, work for every day,” said Gallinari.

Gallo also confirmed he took less money in order to win, which was an easy decision for him. Gallinari specifically mentioned the seventeen banners, and the history surrounding the organization.

“Many, many reasons, but when you think about the Celtics I grew up with my dad since I was a little kid being a Celtics fan, being a Larry Bird fan. So when, the Celtics came on the table, it was almost like a no-brainer,” said Danilo on why he joined the C’s.

The Celtics had every intention of utilizing Danilo Gallinari in next year’s rotation. However, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens decided the organization needed frontcourt strength, both on offense and defense. In an interview with MassLive’s Garrett Cote, the new member of the Washington Wizards admitted that he was thrown off guard by the trade, after recently exercising his player option with the Celtics just days before. Gallinari told Cote, “it was pretty quick and unexpected.”

Gallinari spoke on his recovery, how he’s still in rehab, and hopes to be at full strength by the start of training camp. Although he sounds excited for his new journey, Gallinari boldly put Celtics fans on notice. He’s looking forward to the matchup and getting back on the court.

The forward joins a rebuilding Wizards team after the departures of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook, and Porzingis. He’s expected to play behind a projected starting rotation of Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Corey Kispert, Kyle Kuzma, and Daniel Gafford — not exactly the championship aspirations he had when he signed with the Celtics last summer.

The 2023-2024 NBA schedule has not come out yet, but the closest Gallo might come to raising a banner is denting Boston’s hopes in raising one when he faces his former team.

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