NBA trade rumors: Could Sixers make a deal for Danilo Gallinari work?

NBA trade rumors: Could Sixers make a deal for Danilo Gallinari work?

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.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

After nasty, painful injury vs. Thunder, Joel Embiid 'basically playing with one hand'

After nasty, painful injury vs. Thunder, Joel Embiid 'basically playing with one hand'

Joel Embiid went to the locker room after his first stint of the game Monday night.

A collective sigh of relief could be felt when he returned to the game a few minutes later, appearing no worse for the wear.

Then, a couple possessions later, the ring finger on Embiid’s left finger was noticeably not where it should be after jostling with Steven Adams for a rebound. You could hear the crowd audibly gasp as head athletic trainer Kevin Johnson ran out to cover Embiid’s hand with a towel.

It was gruesome.

“I nearly threw up when I saw that, but I'm glad he came back out,” Ben Simmons said. “We needed him. He's a big part of this team. We were glad to have him back out there.”

The Sixers' All-Star center gutted it out and helped his team snap a four-game losing streak with a 120-113 win over the Thunder at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night (see observations).

As Embiid was heading toward the sideline, you could see Simmons, Josh Richardson and Mike Scott react with concern — and disgust.

“It looked crazy,” Richardson said. “I commend him, first of all, for coming back — it’s not easy coming back from what happened. He said it was bothering him. It takes a lot of toughness to come back and play through it.”

Embiid was officially diagnosed with a dislocated finger. He had X-rays taken on the hand when he initially went to the locker room early in the game, but the results were negative. The finger was snapped back into place and taped, allowing Embiid to come back for the start of the second quarter.

Make no mistake: Embiid was in pain. Just simply snapping a dislocated finger back into place doesn’t heal it. It affected Embiid throughout the rest of the game, but he felt a responsibility to help his team in any way he could.

“It was pretty bad. I was basically playing with one hand,” Embiid said. “It’s pretty bad, but in the midst of the losing streak I just wanted to make sure that I do everything possible to try to get us a win, and I’m glad we got the win.”

Embiid said that the injury mostly affected him on the offensive end and his ability to rebound. Though he didn’t have his most efficient night from the field (7 of 17), Embiid managed to pull down nine rebounds.

Since he was having issues using his left hand and it was affecting his ability to score, Embiid became a more of a playmaker. He recorded a season-high eight assists and turned the ball over just twice. His biggest assist came on a Tobias Harris corner three which put the Sixers up 115-106 with 55.4 seconds left to essentially seal the game.

Even when Embiid is hurting, he draws attention and he used that to his advantage Monday.

Yeah, my mindset basically after that, not being able to really do anything offensively besides basically holding the ball was to contribute in some other ways — setting screens and passing the ball. The situations I was in allowed me to be a playmaker and not a scorer, so I just rolled with that and I’m glad we got the win.

The word “maturity” has come up an awful lot this season when it comes to Embiid. The 25-year-old is looked to as a leader on this team — even to 33-year-old Al Horford. This was a moment where his leadership showed.

With his team in the midst of a losing streak, desperately looking for a win, Embiid did what he had to do.

“I thought he was done for the game,” Brett Brown said. “As far as, what does it mean going forward, I don't know that. But what I do know is that is a tough return to the court. That is a competitive statement, and I appreciate him. I respect that. We needed to play well here at home. We haven't been on the right side of the win/loss column lately and I respect his motives to come back.”

Embiid said he isn’t sure what the long-term ramifications of him playing will be, but he wasn’t worried about that.

"Consequences, you assume them later," he said. "But like you said, as the leader you want to go out and show your teammates that you want to win, and you’re going to do everything possible to do so.”

If the medical staff will let him, he’s going to play Thursday night against the rival Celtics.

“I want to play — it’s a big game,” Embiid said. “Last time we played them we had great success. But then again, whatever they want me to do — obviously I try to fight it — but I know they care about me, so whatever they want me to do, I guess. We’ll see.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Joel Embiid plays through injury and Sixers gut out a win they needed over Thunder

Joel Embiid plays through injury and Sixers gut out a win they needed over Thunder

BOX SCORE 

The Sixers’ longest losing streak of the season is over.

They pulled out a 120-113 win Monday night at Wells Fargo Center over the Oklahoma City Thunder to snap a four-game skid and move to 24-14, 17-2 at home.

All five starters scored at least 13 points. Ben Simmons nearly had his second straight triple-double, with 17 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

Here are observations on a win that Al Horford said Sunday the Sixers were "desperate" to have:

Embiid plays through pain

Joel Embiid had an unusual, painful night.

As he walked off the floor late in the first quarter, the first few rows of the crowd collectively grimaced when they got a glimpse of Embiid’s hand and his dislocated left ring finger (see video above).

He seemed hampered by the injury when he returned with a taped-up hand but still had a big impact on the game, finishing with 18 points on 7 for 17 shooting, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Hunting threes 

Brett Brown spoke at length before the game about his team needing to “hunt” more three-point shots. Along with acknowledging his disappointment that Simmons hadn’t followed his public request on Dec. 7 for at least one three-point shot per game, Brown named Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris and Horford as players he wants to shoot more threes.

Harris seemed to get the message early, attempting three threes in the first quarter and knocking down all of them. 

Though Horford only tried two threes, he did manage 13 points on 6 for 10 shooting. 

As a team, the Sixers shot 13 for 26 from three. They entered Monday’s game averaging 30.1 threes per game, 25th in the NBA. 

Richardson’s pick-and-roll partnerships

The Sixers have been aiming to develop the pick-and-roll partnership between Richardson (23 points) and Embiid since the preseason. However, the pairing with Richardson and and Simmons is somewhat new, or at least growing in frequency.

Brown said Sunday that the Sixers will “continue to look at” expanding Simmons’ role as a screener and roller, and we saw that vs. Oklahoma City.

Richardson is learning the nuances of running the pick-and-roll with Simmons as compared to with Embiid. 

“Ben's a fast roller,” he said. “He's a really fast roller so I can usually play a little different. And Jo is kind of a slow roller, short roller, pop guy, so I probe a little bit more with Jo.”

Simmons sealed deep in the paint off a pick-and-roll with Richardson and scored in the first quarter. His physical presence as a screener also caused Oklahoma City to leave Richardson free for a three-pointer with 11.4 seconds left in the half. 

And, on another promising sequence early in the third, Simmons screened for Richardson, then got a mismatch against Chris Paul at the foul line. With Danilo Gallinari focused on him, Simmons rifled a pass to Horford for a corner three. 

Though the Sixers miss JJ Redick’s non-stop off-ball movement and shooting ability, having Richardson opens up new possibilities. He has a “wiggle,” as Brown said Sunday, and can help with parts of Simmons and Embiid’s games that have perhaps been underutilized in the past. If Simmons is still not taking jump shots regularly when the playoffs arrive, it would make sense for the Sixers to involve him as a screener more.

Big baskets by Burke 

While we’re on the topic of pick-and-rolls, Trey Burke excelled in that action Monday.

He played with confidence, trusted his decision-making and posted 12 points on 5 for 7 shooting. His shot creation and scoring were valuable. Mike Scott’s two fourth-quarter threes were also timely points from the Sixers' bench.

Flipping a switch on defense

Though the Sixers focused on offensive structure and spacing during Sunday’s practice, Brown said pregame that defense was the biggest thing the Sixers needed to improve upon to snap their losing streak.

They didn’t start very well in that department, with transition defense especially problematic. The Sixers let the 34-year-old Paul walk into two straight threes in the first quarter and allowed the Thunder to score the first nine fast break points of the game. 

Brown turned to a zone defense briefly late in the first quarter, but that was a short-lived scheme as Hamidou Diallo scored inside and former Sixer Mike Muscala sunk a three from the right wing. 

Late in the second, though, the Sixers’ defensive intensity and focus improved, although they struggled with excessive fouling in the second half.

They have weaknesses on defense and have had plenty of baffling breakdowns and lapses in recent times, but the Sixers should still be a team with high defensive potential. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers