The Sixers need shooting. They also need shot creators.
As the Feb. 6 trade deadline approaches, expect them to be linked to players that can do one or the other — or perhaps both.
That’s why the report from Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer that the Sixers “have expressed interest” in Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari makes a ton of sense.
Gallinari is averaging 19 points a game and he does it in a variety of ways. He’s shooting 40.8 percent from three, is deadly in the midrange, is crafty with the ball in his hands and can use his size against smaller defenders. While nobody will confuse him for an All-NBA defender, he has improved throughout his career.
Oklahoma City is one of the biggest surprises in the NBA and the 31-year-old is a huge reason why. Gallinari was essentially the salary match in the trade that sent Paul George to the Clippers. He’s on an expiring contract so it makes sense that the Thunder may look to move him, despite their success.
His fit with the Sixers and former Clipper teammate Tobias Harris is obvious.
Hate to throw cold water on the rumor, but it’s hard to imagine it making sense financially. Gallinari’s cap number for the season is $22.6 million. A trade would almost have to include Al Horford and his $28-million hit, but why would the Thunder be interested in taking on the rest of the 33-year-old’s four-year, $109-million deal? You could get a third team involved, but that would still be tough.
You could possibly use Josh Richardson ($10.1 million) and a few other players, but the Sixers already have depth issues. Trading Richardson — who’s become a big part of what the Sixers do on both ends — and any rotational player isn’t helping those issues.
While the Sixers could certainly use a player of Gallinari’s skillset, GM Elton Brand would have to get awfully creative to make it happen.
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