The Denver Nuggets as currently constructed aren't a playoff contender, and they need a significant shake-up in order to turn their fortunes around. Trading small forward Danilo Gallinari could enable that necessary reshuffle.
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Gallinari Included in Potential Trade for Blake Griffin
Monday, Feb. 15
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard (via Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders), the Los Angeles Clippers offered the Nuggets a trade for Blake Griffin and Lance Stephenson, with Gallinari one of four players going the other way. Center Nikola Jokic, shooting guard Will Barton and power forward Kenneth Faried were those joining Gallinari in the proposed deal.
Acquiring Griffin would be a major coup for the Nuggets, but in the scenario presented, Denver is giving up too much in order to make the trade happen. Jokic, Faried and Gallinari are all starters, while Barton is the team's second-leading scorer. The cupboard would be pretty bare in the Mile High City, somewhat offsetting the impact of Griffin's arrival.
On its own, though, trading Gallinari isn't a bad idea for general manager Tim Connelly.
Gallinari's value has never been higher. He's averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting, including a healthy 36.5 clip from three-point range. The Italian star has also been relatively healthy, appearing in 48 of Denver's 54 games.
The worry with Gallinari, though, is that he has missed 159 games over the previous five seasons. The longer the Nuggets wait to trade him—if that's an avenue that interests them—the more they're risking Gallinari suffering another major injury.
At the very least, Connelly would be wise to listen to any trade offers for his versatile forward.