New Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari has already moved once this week, but he would be wise to keep his bags packed.
Gallinari, a 6'10" second-year forward, was a big piece in the Carmelo Anthony/Chauncey Billups trade between the Nuggets and New York Knicks on Monday night, and might be on the move again before Thursday's trade deadline.
Gallinari has a lot of things going for him: just 22 years old, small contract and a fantastic jumpshooting game. He is a valuable asset to his new team, both as a player and as a bargaining chip.
The Nuggets' jettison of their two best players signals that they are now entering rebuilding mode, which, in the NBA, means acquiring cheap talent, stockpiling future draft picks and shedding high-salaried players.
The Nuggets accomplished all of those goals in their Monday night haul, but are just warming up on the trade block, according to sources cited in an ESPN story. Gallinari is the one player in the deal that Denver is interested in turning back around for draft picks to one of several interested teams.
Here are 10 teams that should be on the phone with Denver right now to acquire Gallinari before Thursday's deadline.
The Cavs are rumored to be in on the Gallo Sweepstakes to land the small forward they desperately need. The current depth chart at the three: Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Joey Graham and Diana Taurasi.
Sadly, I made only one of those names up.
Gallinari would be a great fit to stretch opposing defenses out, pull them away from the paint and allow the guards to drive. His rookie contract (roughly $1.7 million a year) would actually make him the sixth-most expensive player on the roster.
The only reason that the Cavs wouldn't do this trade is because Denver most likely would require draft picks in return, which, at current, are the most valuable in the league for Cleveland. On track for the worst record in the league, general manager Chris Grant likely would not surrender his team's 2011 first-round pick for Gallinari.
Still, a deal with multiple ancillary draft picks could benefit the Cavaliers, especially if they improve over the next few years and their draft picks don't come so high.
If the price for Gallinari is draft picks, the Clippers might be a good fit. They own Minnesota's No. 1 and Detroit's second-rounder this season, and could package one or both of those to acquire the Italian sharpshooter.
This makes sense for the Clippers, who have long lacked a spot-up shooter that is actually worth putting on the court for more than 15 minutes per game. His presence presumably takes away some of the bad shots that Baron Davis hoists, spreads out the paint for both Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon to get to the basket and gives the Clips size on the defensive end.
The Clippers are loaded with young and cheap players, with six players on their rookie deals and $4.1 million in cap space. Packaging a young project, like Al-Farouq Aminu or Willie Warren, with one draft pick would make this quite a steal for the Clippers in the "improve quickly" department.
Dallas is in win-now mode, and is involved to several different trade rumors aimed at improving the team for the next three months with little regard for the long-term outlook.
A Caron Butler-Gallinari swap makes a lot of sense right now and for the future. Butler, who is injured, has an expiring $10 million deal that Denver can simply write off and take as cap space into next season. Dallas is $25 million over the cap and brimming with trade chips like Roddy Beaubois and Ian Mahinmi. Just kidding on Mahinmi.
The deal gives Dallas a swingman (if you can call Gallinari that) who can stand at the three point line and shoot. Imagine Dirk with the ball at the elbow and Gallo spotted up on the opposite wing or in the corner while Dirk draws a second defender to the middle of the court. The Mavs could become a lot more deadly on offense, if slightly less athletic.
Shawn Marion has all the athleticism in the world, but he can't shoot a basketball.
Gallinari can, and at a palatable price.
Dallas could send Butler's expiring and Minnesota's 2012 second-rounder to Denver for Gallinari and make out like a bandit.
The Suns are in a similar position to the Nuggets, they just haven't realized it yet.
Phoenix needs to begin its rebuilding effort, which will include shedding Vince Carter's dead body and Steve Nash's contract. One or both of these should be done by trade instead of simply letting their contracts run out.
Gallinari would be a nice fit for Phoenix because of the offensive style that he's familiar with. He just came from Mike D'Antoni's system, which used to reign in the desert and is now mirrored by Alvin Gentry.
Trading a big contract (Carter, Mikael Pietrus, Channing Frye) for Gallinari would alleviate cap pressure for Phoenix and land a young player with a good contract and a good jump shot. Phoenix could also send Orlando's 2011 first-round pick to Denver with an expiring contract.
The Raptors are loaded with terrible contracts, which is why Gallinari's would be such a fresh addition.
They do not have great value in draft picks, but an expiring contract or two might be attractive to the Nuggets.
Leandro Barbosa at $7.1 million, Reggie Evans at $5.1 million and Julian Wright at $2.8 million could allow Denver to shed even more money than they already have in Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
Jay Triano likes big men who can shoot, but has only Andrea Bargnani to fit that need. Another 6'10" shooter would be appropriate for Toronto, which employs one of the faster paces in the league.
The Sixers are chasing a playoff spot, so they could be buying this week.
Gallinari could be of great value to Philly, which ranks fourth from the bottom in the NBA in three-pointers made.
Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala all score well, but there is no real threat to score from the outside on this team. At 6'10", Gallinari would also help on the boards for a team stocked with undersized power forwards and middle of the pack in rebound differential.
Andres Nocioni, Jason Kapono and Darius Songaila are all forwards who have bad contracts and don't contribute much to the team. Gallinari costs less than all of them, is younger than all of them and could immediately contribute better than they do.
By trading just one of those players for Gallinari, Billy King could save his team betwen $6-10 million over the next two years, depending on who else Denver sent to the 76ers.
Add Gallinari to Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Spencer Hawes, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young, and you have a pretty talented young core to work with and let develop together.
The Nets have one of the best potential packages to land Gallinari, and might be motivated to do so.
Troy Murphy and Sasha Vujacic are huge assets as expiring contracts, and neither is significant to New Jersey's success (or failure). The Nets also have a plethora of draft picks over the next two years, which are what Denver has its eye on.
The liklelihood of Murphy being traded is very high because he does not factor into Avery Johnson's substitution patterns at all, and is owed $11 million through this year. His expiring contract is among the most valuable in the NBA at current, and the Nuggets, who were way over the cap before their trade, could still use the relief that Murphy's contract could provide at the end of the season.
The Grizzlies, who have been on a great run in the last month, are just outside the Western Conference playoff picture right now. They lost star Rudy Gay to a shoulder injury for at least a month, and his contributions are hard to replace.
The Grizzlies should make this trade because they rank dead last in the NBA in three-pointers made. They are clearly an interior scoring team, but every legitimate contender needs at least one player to stretch the floor with the three.
Without Gay, now is the time to make a trade for a shooter like Gallinari, even though Memphis doesn't have the draft pick power that Denver wants.
Based on team three-point shooting, Deron Williams could use a dependable gunner on the opposite wing to pass to in this photo.
The Jazz rank in the bottom third of the league in threes made, taken, and percentage. They have a few guys who can hit threes in Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, and Mehmet Okur, but the current make-up of the team dictates very few minutes for those guys.
Utah, usually a top ten rebounding team, is mysteriously in the bottom five in total rebounds and 24th in differential this season. Gallinari's size means that they could have a third rebounder on the floor with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
What about Mehmet Okur, some might ask. Well, Gallinari is a younger, cheaper player who shoots and rebounds better. Plus, Jefferson's acquisition at center essentially made Okur obsolete.
The Jazz will need something besides Williams to Jefferson when the playoffs roll around, which they're actually in danger of missing out on. A shooter is needed for them to have any prayer of advancing past the first round.
Nate McMillan has Nicolas Batum running the small forward position, but Gallinari would offer him more of an offensive threat at the position.
Portland is roughly average in all three-point categories, and a little lower in team percentage. For a team that thrives on drive-and-kick or post-and-kick, a knock down shooter with size like Gallinari would open up the floor immensely for Andre Miller, slasher Wes Matthews and post LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Blazers are guard and post-heavy, so Gallinari could balance out the lineup and make it so that certain subs don't come in and have to play out of position. Plus, they could potentially trade out of excess at guard or center to get Gallinari. Joel Przybilla, Marcus Camby and Greg Oden are potential trade pieces with two or less years remaining under contract.
Portland's push for the playoffs could greatly enhanced by the presence of some new blood that hasn't had any trouble staying healthy.