5 Potential Trade Packages Boston Celtics Can Offer Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari

Brian Robb@CelticsHubFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2015

5 Potential Trade Packages Boston Celtics Can Offer Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics have made some notable improvements to their roster this offseason, but one area of need they have failed to address is perimeter shooting. Boston ranked a lowly 27th in three-point shooting last season, hitting just 32.7 percent of its attempts from deep.

    Offseason additions such as Amir Johnson and David Lee are going to be productive in their own rights, but neither is known for his outside shooting.

    One player who could provide a boost in that department is Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, and it appears that the Celtics are kicking the tires on the seven-year veteran. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports indicated last month that Gallinari had been put on the trade block by Denver, and Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported Monday that Boston has had discussions with the Nuggets about acquiring the 6’10’’ forward in recent weeks.

    Adding the 26-year-old veteran to the roster would make sense on a variety of levels for the Celtics. The former lottery pick brings size and shooting (36.7 percent in his career from three-point range) on the wing that would give head coach Brad Stevens additional flexibility with his lineups.

    Gallinari’s numbers were down in 2014-15 in his first season back after suffering an ugly ACL tear, making him a potential buy-low candidate for the Celtics to gamble on. With just one year remaining on his contract at $11.6 million, Gallinari also won’t tie up future cap room if he’s a bust.

    So how much would general manager Danny Ainge be willing to give up for a useful veteran on a short-term deal? Let’s explore a few potential trade packages the Celtics could be willing to offer.

    All statistics and player salaries provided by Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.

Trade Centerpiece No. 1: Avery Bradley

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Celtics Get: Danilo Gallinari

    Nuggets Get: Avery Bradley

    One area of great depth on the Celtics roster is the backcourt, especially with the team drafting guards Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft. Both of those players, along with Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and James Young, create a logjam for Stevens to manage as he deals with several young players with similar skill sets.

    The Nuggets have plenty of their own talent in the backcourt, with Ty Lawson, Jameer Nelson and No. 7 overall pick Emmanuel Mudiay at the point guard spot, but they could use an upgrade at shooting guard in place of Randy Foye and Gary Harris.

    At the age of 24, Bradley is entering his prime, and he's under contract for three more seasons for just over $8 million per year. Bradley’s offensive game is up and down, as he relies on too many mid-range jumpers, but there’s no denying his defensive value. For a rebuilding Denver team, he could prove to be a valuable core piece in the backcourt for new head coach Mike Malone.

    Boston is probably not looking to deal Bradley, but it has a couple of potential replacements waiting for his minutes in Rozier, Young and Hunter. Denver may have to sweeten the deal a bit to entice Boston, but this is a trade that would help each squad meet its needs.

Trade Centerpiece No. 2: Kelly Olynyk, Draft Pick

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Celtics Get: Danilo Gallinari

    Nuggets Get: Kelly Olynyk, Evan Turner, Chris Babb, Phil Pressey and a 2016 first-round pick

    If the team moves Gallinari, the Nuggets will be looking to replace the spacing he provides on the perimeter. Kelly Olynyk, 24, should be able to pitch in on that front. The seven-footer is only a career 34.9 percent three-point shooter, but he increased his attempts per game in his second season from 1.6 to 2.7.

    The Nuggets frontcourt has plenty of talent, with Kenneth Faried, Jusuf Nurkic and J.J. Hickson, but none of those players can stretch the floor. Olynyk would be able to jump in immediately and provide Denver with a capable big man in that area. He has his limitations, especially on the defensive end, hence the need for Boston to include its first-round pick in 2016 to improve the package.

    With the roster upgrades the Celtics made this offseason, that 2016 pick is likely to fall in the late teens or early 20s, but Ainge could make it lottery-protected to ensure that he isn't giving up too much value. Evan Turner, Phil Pressey and Chris Babb would merely serve as salary filler in the deal.

    The glut in the Celtics frontcourt makes Olynyk an expendable piece, even though he’s been a useful contributor over the past couple of seasons. If he remains in Boston next year, he’ll have a hard time beating out Lee, Johnson, Tyler Zeller, Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger for regular minutes. Instead of having him languish on the bench, the Celtics would be best served using him to help upgrade a position of need.

Trade Centerpiece No. 3: James Young, Draft Pick

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Celtics Get: Danilo Gallinari

    Nuggets Get: James Young, Evan Turner, Chris Babb, Phil Pressey and a top-seven protected 2016 first-round pick (via Dallas)

    The logic behind this move is similar to that of a potential Bradley offer for Gallinari: The Celtics have too many bodies in their backcourt, which makes a few of the younger prospects expendable. Young has more size than Bradley, at 6’6’’, but he lacks Bradley's defensive ability and shooting track record as a capable rotation player.

    Young, 19, would have to fight Harris and Foye for minutes at the 2-guard spot in Denver, but he does carry some enticing shooting potential after hitting 44.2 percent of his three-point attempts in the D-League last year.

    Despite his youth, the jury is still out on Young's ceiling as a player, as evidenced by his struggles in summer-league play this month. To compensate for Young's uncertainty, an intriguing additional part of this trade package is the protected first-rounder from Dallas in 2016. DeAndre Jordan’s decision to spurn the Mavericks and return to the Los Angeles Clippers makes this a possible lottery pick, although the impending addition of Deron Williams, per NBA.com's David Aldridge, will not help those chances.

    Still, with Dallas playing in a loaded Western Conference, this selection could easily fall between No. 7 and No. 14 in the 2016 NBA draft, which could be enough for Denver to jump on this kind of offer. Boston has plenty of additional picks, so sacrificing one of those promising selections for a player upgrade like Gallinari would be a reasonable gamble.

Trade Centerpiece No. 4: Jared Sullinger, James Young, Draft Pick

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Celtics Get: Danilo Gallinari

    Nuggets Get: Jared Sullinger, James Young, Evan Turner and a top-12 protected 2016 first-round pick (via Minnesota)

    Jared Sullinger has a lot to prove as he enters a contract year, but he could use a fresh start somewhere after battling health and weight issues for much of last season in Boston. He played in just 58 regular-season games because of a foot fracture he suffered in February. The power forward's husky frame may not have caused the injury, but it didn't help the issue.

    Upon returning to the Celtics lineup in April, though, Sullinger showed his value as one of the team’s top offensive options against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the postseason. The 23-year-old averaged 13.3 points and seven rebounds in those four games, and that type of promise would make him a viable fit in a young Denver frontcourt.

    The 6’9’’ forward would not be enough to land a proven scorer like Gallinari on his own, so Boston would add a prospect such as Young as well as an additional asset. Turner once again serves as salary filler, although he could provide the Nuggets with some scoring help off the bench as well.

    Minnesota’s 2016 first-round pick will turn into a pair of second-round picks in 2016 and 2017 if it falls in the top 12 next year.

Trade Centerpiece No. 5: Future Draft Picks

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Celtics Get: Danilo Gallinari

    Nuggets Get: Evan Turner, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb, a top-12 protected 2016 first-round pick (via Minnesota) and a top-seven protected 2016 first-round pick (via Dallas)

    If Ainge wants to wait a few more months to clear out the glut at the guard and big-man spots, the Celtics can throw a pair of protected first-round picks at Denver in hopes of landing Gallinari. Whether using two first-round picks to land an injury-prone player on an expiring deal makes sense is debatable, but the sheer number of future first-round selections Ainge has accumulated in the past couple of years makes using some here a reasonable choice.

    Boston would still hold on to its most valuable selections (Brooklyn's unprotected first-round picks in 2016 and 2018) in this scenario, giving it the ability to use those with other assets to land a big star through another trade.

    In the meantime, shipping out future picks for Gallinari should help the Celtics jump up a few spots in the Eastern Conference standings, which could help the team in free agency next summer. If Boston proves to be a viable East playoff team, notable names would be more likely to consider Boston as a competitive destination. That kind of consideration led Greg Monroe to choose the Milwaukee Bucks over bigger markets this summer.

    The Celtics won’t have the roster space to keep all of their first-round draft picks in 2016, anyway, so pooling them to make a low-risk upgrade with Gallinari is an intriguing possibility.


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