Philadelphia 76ers rumors: Danilo Gallinari is a potential deadline target

(Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

This is the biggest name credibly tied to the Philadelphia 76ers in trade rumors.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 29-17, which puts them sixth in the Eastern Conference. Many still consider the Sixers title contenders, but it’s difficult to imagine Philadelphia overcoming the Milwaukee buzzsaw in their current state, even after their Christmas Day beatdown.

Most have implored the Sixers to pursue trade options, some bigger than others. Several names have been tossed around in connection to Philly so far — Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, Robert Covington, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and many others — but none have reached the scale of Danilo Gallinari.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Gallinari is on the Sixers’ radar. It’s an interesting proposition, and if true, could signal Philadelphia’s relative displeasure with Al Horford to date. If the Sixers are primed to make a real push for Gallo, a big move may be on the horizon.

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The basics of a Gallinari trade are a bit cloudy. Gallinari is on the final year of his contract and is expected to become a free agent next summer. Whichever team trades for him will have his bird rights, similar to the Tobias Harris situation last season. If Philadelphia wants to keep Gallo long-term, as a contender, they probably have the means to do so.

Gallo is on contract for roughly $22 million this season, which according to TradeNBA, is enough to facilitate a straight-up swap for Horford. The other route would involve Josh Richardson, Mike Scott, and other assets, which makes little to no logical sense.

The challenge then becomes incentive. Why would OKC, on the verge of a rebuild, trade Gallinari’s expiring contract for Horford, who has three (expensive) seasons left on his contract and is even further on the wrong side of 30. It would require significant draft capital from Philadelphia, and perhaps a sweetener in the Zhaire Smith vein.

Gallo fits much more comfortably than Horford in Philadelphia’s rotation. He’s a knockdown shooter, a silky shot-creator, and a solid enough defender at the four. He has succeeded next to Tobias Harris in the past, and he would open up more running room for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

If Horford’s performance this season is indicative of a new normal, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of a Gallinari upgrade. He would feasibly be retained over the summer, he’s younger, and he’s a more apt fit. All positives.

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It’s simply a matter of getting OKC to pull the trigger in a deal that doesn’t totally compromise Philadelphia’s long-term outlook.