Without Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, but with Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams (plus younger players like Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell), the Clippers are an okay team. Probably hanging around .500.
Doc Rivers wants more than that and is trying to find a way to land Danilo Gallinari, the talented but often injured big man who is unlikely to return to Denver. Sam Amick of the USA Today said the Clippers want Gallo, but will need to find a third team to make it work.
Gallinari’s return to Denver hinges on if they are able to sign Paul Millsap, who met with the Nuggets on Saturday night but has yet to make a decision. If Millsap goes elsewhere, the Nuggets will reach out to Gallinari with more interest.
Gallinari would be a big three playing next to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and he would fit. Gallo is a 6’10” wing who shot 38.7 percent from three last season, he can catch-and-shoot or create his own shot, averaged 18.2 points per game, and can defend threes and fours. There’s a lot to like, when he’s healthy — he missed 19 games last season, and that’s the most he’s played in four years.
The Clippers still have almost no cap space, so they need a third team with some — Philadelphia, Sacramento, Brooklyn, maybe others depending on the size of the deal — to take on salary from them to create space for Gallinari. Of course, this third team is going to want sweeteners, if you want the Nets to take on $18 million in salary that likely costs a first-round pick.
Three team deals rarely come together — see the Kevin Love/Paul George proposed deal that fell apart — because there are a lot of moving parts and it’s hard to make three teams happy. But this is something to watch.
It also signals the Clippers are not looking to just be mediocre, they want to find a way to compete again fast.