The Celtics have aggressively pursued a trade for Danilo Gallinari, but the Nuggets have consistently rebuffed them, Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports said in a radio appearance on the “Toucher & Rich” show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston (audio link via CSNNE.com). That confirms a report last week from Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi, who heard that the Celtics were targeting Gallinari and that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was keen on his shooting ability and leadership skills. The Nuggets are similarly enamored with the Italian-born small forward, and they want to build around him, Mannix said.
Denver has set a high bar for Gallinari offers, demanding at least two first-rounders, according to Cauchi, and he and Emmanuel Mudiay are among the few Nuggets the team would object to parting with, as Mannix explained. The Celtics have no shortage of draft assets, but the unprotected 2016 first-rounder they have from the Nets is “definitely not available,” writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
The Gallinari talks with the Celtics never amounted to more than a conversation, even though the Nuggets are otherwise “open for business,” Mannix said. Gallinari became eligible for inclusion in a trade just this week on the six-month anniversary of the rare renegotiation-and-extension he signed over the summer. That deal gives the 27-year-old salaries that add up to $45.15MM from this season through 2017/18, though he can opt out after next season.
The Celtics have also been linked to Dwight Howard with several conflicting reports. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, who first reported the discussion between Houston and Boston, wrote that the Celtics had engaged the Rockets, but Mannix said Houston initiated the dialogue.