These day one of the most important aspects of building a young team geared for the future is being tied down with poor contracts. Almost the entire Nuggets roster is “underpaid” by today’s NBA standards. Once these players become due for new deals. the organization will have to be selective with who they hand out paydays to.
The first core player due for a payday is Danilo Gallinari. He’s clearly outplayed his 16 million dollar deal. It’s less clear how much is new deal should be worth.
Durability has to be a factor. The Nuggets can’t afford to have a Chandler Parsons situation on their hands and basically be paying a million per game for a guy with diminished talent.
In eight seasons played and one full season sidelined, Gallinari has only managed to appear in at least 70 games twice in his career. At 29 years old, that tune is unlikely to change.
Denver will have to be mindful of his negatives just as much as his positives once offers start coming in for Gallo. Teams will definitely be attracted to his 6’10” size and ability to stretch the floor. This was his second straight season of averaging at least 18 points is also very intriguing but if anyone is going to overpay for his services, let it be a different team.
With players like Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin all making between 20 to 22 million dollars, the Nuggets should be able to resign him somewhere in that ballpark.
Even if more money is offered elsewhere, the comments of both Gallinari and management suggest he could be back. Although Gallinari’s comments tend to hint at playing elsewhere.
“As you guys know, it’s tough for me to leave Denver,” Gallinari said. “It’s my city. I love the city. I have a house here. After my career is over, Denver is going to be my city. It’s very tough for me to leave, so we’ll see.”
What Denver Wants
General Manager Tim Connelly’s statement offered hope that no matter if he’s back or not, the right decision will be made.
“Gallo has been a core piece of this team for a very long time,” General Manager Tim Connelly said. “We have a fantastic relationship, so we’re always very up front and honest. If he opts out we’ll figure out how we approach that. He’s a guy who really enjoys Denver. He had a career year in a bunch of different statistical categories. He’s a guy who we know very well, and he knows us very well. I think it will be a pretty easy approach when you have that type of relationship.”
While the loss of Gallo wouldn’t initially be a positive, it could end up being a blessing in disguise. His attributes make him almost the definition of fool’s gold in free agency. He is injury-prone, high scoring on low percentage shooting, and limited room for improvement due to his age. His exit could be the perfect opening for stretch four Juancho Hernangomez who is coming off of an impressive rookie season.
Though it will fly under the radar, as all Nuggets news will, this will be an intriguing story to follow.