Danilo Gallinari

Hawks Notes: Reddish, Collins, Huerter, Hunter

The Hawks have enough young players and future draft picks to facilitate a Ben Simmons trade, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. He uses the Timberwolves as an example of a team that wants Simmons, but may not have the assets to make an offer that would interest the Sixers. Kirschner suggests Cam Reddish could be appealing in that scenario, with Atlanta getting something of value for helping the deal get done.

The Hawks looked into trading Reddish around draft time, but sources tell Kirschner that no deal was ever imminent. There’s a decent chance Reddish will be eventually be moved, Kirschner adds, but there’s no urgency to deal him right away. Injuries limited Reddish to 26 games last season, but he averaged 12.8 PPG when he returned for the playoff series with the Bucks.

There’s more on the Hawks, all from Kirschner:

  • Atlanta didn’t receive any legitimate sign-and-trade offers for John Collins before re-signing him for five years at $125MM. Kirschner suggests that the Hawks may have been bidding against themselves by giving Collins that much, but they’re still happy to keep an important part of their starting lineup.
  • The Hawks are talking to Kevin Huerter about an extension, but Kirschner doesn’t expect anything to be resolved until closer to the start of the season. He believes it’s likely that the team will decide to let Huerter become a restricted free agent, just like it did with Collins, and hope to work out a new contract next summer.
  • Reddish and De’Andre Hunter will both be eligible for rookie scale extensions next offseason, which will affect the Hawks’ other financial decisions. Kirschner sees Hunter as an ideal backcourt partner for Trae Young, if he can recover from his second meniscus surgery, so he figures to be the Hawks’ priority. Danilo Gallinari only has a $5MM guarantee for 2022/23 in the final year of his contract, so Kirschner expects him to be on the trade market at some point.

Trade Rumors: Raptors, McCollum, SGA, Celtics, Wolves

As long as Ben Simmons remains in Philadelphia and Kyle Lowry hasn’t reached an agreement in free agency, league sources aren’t ruling out the possibility of a deal between the Sixers and Raptors that would send Lowry to his hometown via sign-and-trade, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, with several suitors expected to pursue Lowry aggressively in free agency, that doesn’t appear to be a likely outcome for the time being.

According to Fischer, one intriguing trade framework that the Raptors have discussed with the Trail Blazers would involve Pascal Siakam and CJ McCollum. But those talks haven’t gathered any real momentum yet, Fischer cautions.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Although Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s name popped up in trade rumors leading up to the draft, the Thunder never offered him to the Cavaliers in negotiations for the No. 3 pick, according to Fischer, who reports that Oklahoma City only made present and future draft assets available in those discussions. The expectation is that the Thunder and Gilgeous-Alexander will reach an agreement on a maximum-salary contract extension this offseason, Fischer adds.
  • Before agreeing to a deal to acquire Josh Richardson from Dallas, the Celtics also expressed trade interest in Grizzlies wing Kyle Anderson, sources tell Fischer.
  • The Timberwolves, who have long been in the market for a power forward, inquired on Danilo Gallinari before agreeing to send Ricky Rubio to Cleveland, says Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The Hawks turned down Minnesota’s offer for Gallinari.

Olympic Notes: Gallinari, Italy, Slovenia, Germany

Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari is interested in playing for Italy during the Olympics this summer, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Gallinari is coming off a successful postseason run with Atlanta, averaging 12.8 points per game on 42% shooting from the field and 40.5% from deep.

“I still believe in the Olympics, and if the coach and federation give me the chance to go to the Olympics once we win this game today, I’d be honored to be a part of that team,” Gallinari said prior to the final game of the qualifying tournament in Serbia, according to Scotto.

Italy defeated Serbia in that qualifying game on Sunday, officially joining Australia, Nigeria and Germany in Group B for the Tokyo games.

Here are some other Olympic-related notes tonight:

  • Slovenia defeated Lithuania 96-85 to clinch a spot in the Olympics on Sunday, receiving a key performance from Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic in the outing, as relayed by the Associated Press and ESPN. Doncic finished with a triple-double, notching 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. “I don’t care about the MVP,” Doncic said. “We won here. We’re going to the Olympics, the first time in our country. It’s amazing. I think every kid dreams about being in the Olympics. I did, too. So, here we are. We fought really, really hard and I think we deserve to be here.”
  • Germany also qualified for the Olympic tournament on Sunday behind Moritz Wagner‘s 28 points, as relayed by Sportando. Germany defeated Brazil, which was led by Anderson Varejao‘s 14 points and four rebounds in the outing.
  • Greece and the Czech Republic are battling on Sunday night for the last spot in the 12-team Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Young, Capela, Shooting

After starting the season with a 14-20 record, the Hawks have gone 22-10 since Nate McMillan took over as the team’s head coach. The role McMillan has played in turning around Atlanta’s season hasn’t been lost on leading scorer Trae Young, who appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj Pod this week and praised the Hawks’ head coach for “connecting with the players.”

Asked about McMillan’s potential future with the team, Young said he’d be surprised if the interim coach isn’t retained beyond 2020/21.

“I couldn’t see a scenario where he’s not back with us,” Young said. “The way we’re winning right now. If we go into the playoffs and do really well, it’s hard to see him not back next year. At the end of the day it’s not up to me, but as a player, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be back.”

While Young is right that the decision won’t ultimately be up to him, Hawks management will likely take the All-Star guard’s opinion into account when they determine what’s next for McMillan, who looks like a pretty safe bet to have his interim label removed.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • In an in-depth profile, Zach Lowe of ESPN examines the growth of Hawks center Clint Capela, who has gone from a rookie the Rockets initially viewed as a draft-and-stash prospect to the anchor of Atlanta’s defense and a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
  • Within his story on Capela, Lowe cites sources who say the Hawks discussed the possibility of trading for Andre Drummond and Steven Adams before ultimately acquiring Capela from Houston a year ago. Atlanta believed that elements of Capela’s pick-and-roll game with James Harden would work for Trae Young, Lowe notes.
  • After finishing dead-last in three-point percentage a year ago, the Hawks prioritized shooting in the offseason when they signed Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari to lucrative multiyear deals, and those moves have helped make the Hawks a playoff team, writes Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bogdanovic (42.0% on threes) and Gallinari (41.6%) have been two of the club’s most reliable marksmen in 2020/21.

Hawks’ GM Schlenk Talks McMillan, Trade Market, Collins

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, who spoke today to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, acknowledged that a number of the team’s free agent additions “haven’t performed as well as they wanted to.”

However, Schlenk said that veterans like Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo have had an impact on the team off the court and expressed confidence that they can turn things around on the court. He also reiterated that the Hawks’ goal is still to have a winning season and to make the playoffs.

New head coach Nate McMillan will be tasked with getting the squad – which currently has a 16-20 record, back into the postseason mix. And while leading the team to a second-half surge might improve McMillan’s chances of getting his interim tag removed at season’s end, Schlenk insists that the veteran head coach has nothing to prove and is already assured of receiving consideration for the permanent job.

“He’s certainly going to have the opportunity to be the permanent head coach,” Schlenk said, per Kirschner. “No doubt about it. You can certainly argue that he’s got the best chance because he’s here right now, and we’ll have the ability to work with him for the next three months. He’s going to have the opportunity to coach games. I don’t know that there’s necessarily anything that I need to see. He’s got a proven track record. He doesn’t need to prove to me that he can coach NBA basketball. I know that.”

Schlenk also addressed a handful of other topics today, confirming that the Hawks hope Kris Dunn can make his debut with the team at some point later this month and discussing Atlanta’s approach to the trade deadline. Here, via Kirschner and Spencer, are a few of the highlights from the Hawks’ GM:

On whether the Hawks are actively exploring trade scenarios:

“Right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything on the horizon, but that can change. You rarely get teams’ best offers. Nobody gets real serious until you get down to the last week or two. It’s hard to gauge. We certainly will look to do anything we can to do anything we can that feels like, is going to make us a better team in the short-term and the long-term. Those sometimes don’t go hand-in-hand, but we’ll look at any situation we think that will help us.”

On the team’s plan for John Collins:

“John’s a big part of our team… He’s made the decision this fall to go to restricted free agency, and that was his choice and obviously we respect it. But we’re going to have the opportunity to match any offer he gets. We’ll certainly make him an offer in free agency as well, and he’ll have the ability to see if he can get an offer from another team. But at the end of the day, we view him as part of our team, and I don’t see a restricted free agency situation where we would just let him walk for nothing.”

On whether Collins could be moved before the trade deadline:

“We listen about all our guys, that’s our job, to see what the value of all our guys are. John is a good young player, and teams have interest in him, no question about it. But we listen on all our guys, I guess is the short answer.”

Hawks Notes: Pierce, McMillan, Schlenk, Bogdanovic

Addressing reporters on Monday night following the announcement of Lloyd Pierce‘s dismissal, general manager Travis Schlenk didn’t offer a ton of specific details for why the Hawks made a head coaching change, simply stating that the team was underachieving relative to its expectations, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution writes.

“As we said at the beginning of the season, our goal was to have progress this year, to move forward,” Schlenk said. “And we just felt like that wasn’t happening as quickly as we wanted it to. … We felt like for the organization, it was the best thing for us to do moving forward.”

Hawks owner Tony Ressler has admitted to pressing for the team’s big spending spree during 2020’s free agency period and badly wants to get back to the postseason. However, Schlenk said that he and his basketball operations staff made the decision to move on from Pierce, with Ressler’s approval.

“Certainly Tony signs off on all major moves we make on the basketball side or on the business side, as far as that goes, but this wasn’t a decision that Tony made,” Schlenk said, according to Spencer. “… I don’t think it’s any secret that Tony is very passionate and wants the organization to be successful. He’s willing to give us all the resources that we need to be able to do that. Up to this point in my tenure here, he’s been extremely supportive of any decision I feel like we needed to make, and this was the same situation here.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Nate McMillan will be the Hawks’ interim head coach and is the first candidate named by Chris Kirschner of The Athletic in his list of possible permanent coaching options for Atlanta. Schlenk was noncommittal on Monday when asked about the possibility of McMillan holding the job permanently, stating that the Hawks will cross that bridge when they get there, per Spencer.
  • Pierce’s firing raises some bigger questions about the Hawks’ decision-making, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests the clock has begun ticking on Schlenk and the front office, especially if the team’s 2020 free agent additions don’t start providing more value soon. While injuries to Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kris Dunn, and De’Andre Hunter this season have been unlucky, the signings of Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo look like “clear failures,” Hollinger contends.
  • Schlenk shared some good news during his Tuesday morning appearance on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, announcing that Bogdanovic will play on Tuesday on a minutes restriction (Twitter link via Mike Conti). Bogdanovic has been out since January 9 due to a knee injury.
  • A pair of veteran NBA coaches – Rick Carlisle and Gregg Popovich – expressed disappointment in the Hawks’ decision to fire Pierce, as Dwain Price of Mavs.com and Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press relay.

Southeast Notes: Bogdanovic, Gallinari, Len, Dragic

Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic has progressed his rehabilitation to include one-on-one play with contact, the team tweets. Bogdanovic hasn’t played since January 9 due to an avulsion fracture in his right knee. His next step will be reintegration into team practice. Bogdanovic was one of the premier acquisitions of the offseason, signing a four-year, $72MM offer sheet that the Kings declined to match.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Another of the Hawks’ high-level acquisitions, Danilo Gallinari, is showing signs that he’s prepared to make a bigger impact. Gallinari’s 38-point eruption against Boston on Wednesday is more of what the team expected when Gallinari arrived in a sign-and-trade with the Thunder, as coach Lloyd Pierce told The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner“That’s Gallo. We know he’s capable. We know he can give us some more. We want him to give us more,” Pierce said.
  • Wizards center Alex Len has a strong bond with the team’s player development coach David Adkins and assistant Ryan Richman going back to his college days at Maryland. That was the biggest reason he signed with Washington after getting released by Toronto, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “I’m kind of like the brother and D.A. is kind of like the uncle/father type of guy in the relationship, I would say,” Richman said.
  • Goran Dragic has shown he can remain a rotation player beyond this season, so the Heat might be inclined to retain the veteran point guard this offseason at the right price, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates. Miami holds a $19.44MM option on Dragic’s contract for next season, which it will almost certainly decline. However, the front office could ask him to return for one of its smaller exceptions.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Gallinari, Ball, Heat, Oladipo

The NBA still doesn’t know how the Wizards‘ COVID-19 outbreak started, with six players testing positive and four games recently being postponed, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports writes.

The outbreak, which is considered to be the worst of the season to date, has left the Wizards unable to produce the league-required eight players needed to play. As Hughes notes, the team is still unsure of how it started despite an extensive contract tracing process.

“We have players that are out on the floor unmasked during the games,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “That’s an obvious thing. They have exposure to each other. Sometimes on the bench, players will pull their masks down and talk to each other, things like that. The contact tracing is very necessary, but it’s also difficult because it could have been anywhere at any time. The fact it hasn’t jumped the wall and it hasn’t extended past players kind of makes you, at least common sense-wise, would make you believe it’s happening in contact out on the court.”

The Wizards’ games against the Cavaliers on Sunday and Monday have also been postponed because of the virus.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks are listing Danilo Gallinari as doubtful to play in Monday’s game against the Wolves, with the veteran forward last seeing action on Dec. 30 due to a right ankle sprain. Gallinari has progressed to half-court individual activities and is now being re-introduced to contact activity, the team announced (Twitter link).
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer examines how much the Hornets truly trust LaMelo Ball and what the team is currently missing. Ball, drafted third overall by the team in the fall, is currently averaging 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game off the bench.
  • Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel explores whether the Rockets could still entice the Heat with a potential trade, only this time with Victor Oladipo. Oladipo and Miami have long been linked to one another, with the 28-year-old set to enter unrestricted free agency at season’s end.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Vincent, Monk, Pierce

Earlier this week, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk updated Mike Conti of Sports Radio 92.9 The Game (Twitter link) on the health and availability status of a handful of Atlanta players. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo and center Onyeka Okongwu could be available later this week. Sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari, a pricey offseason acquisition, will not be traveling with the club on the road this week but is nearing his own return.

Hawks shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, will miss “several weeks” as he continues to rehabilitate from the avulsion fracture in his right knee. JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets that later examinations did not reveal further ligament damage.

Meanwhile, after requiring a walking boot following a December 29 right ankle surgery, Hawks reserve guard Kris Dunn had the boot removed today, Sarah K. Spence of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • With the Heat lineup limited by coronavirus health and safety protocols and injuries, sharpshooting guard Gabe Vincent showcased his ability to perform at the NBA level, scoring a career-best 24 points in a 137-134 Tuesday overtime defeat to the Sixers. Vincent, signed to a two-way contract this season, could warrant a look even when all of Miami’s players return, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. “He is a very good basketball player,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That extends far beyond spot-up shooting … Can guard multiple positions, competes, good team defender. Rebounds at his position. Offensively, you can play him like we did last night as our point guard.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer posits that shooting guard Malik Monk might be just what the doctor ordered as the Hornets struggle on offense. Monk not been a part of the Charlotte rotation yet this season. The 22-year-old has appeared in just two games for Charlotte this season, averaging 5.5 MPG. Across his four-year career, he is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.9 APG and 1.7 APG.
  • In a roundtable of NBA writers for The Athletic, Chris Kirschner opines that Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will be on the figurative “hot seat” this season. After a blistering 4-1 start, the Hawks went 1-4 in their subsequent five games. Several of those defeats came at the hands of the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, hardly Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Hawks are currently hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the East, having lavished significant offseason money on veteran depth.

Southeast Notes: Bryant, Zeller, Monk, Gallinari

Wizards center Thomas Bryant has learned to play more under control and that has him poised for a career year, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post.

“It’s fun to coach him, because he’s emotional. Last year it was not to our advantage. This year, he’s controlling it,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “… His growth in that area, it’s going to help us win a lot of games this year.”

Bryant is averaging 17.9 PPG and 6.7 RPG, enhancing his future value. He’s under contract with the Wizards through the 2021/22 season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets big man Cody Zeller said he can’t speed up the healing process after breaking the ring finger on his left hand, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. He has been relegated to working out — mostly on a stationary bike — to retain conditioning. He had a timetable of 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on Christmas Eve. “It’s not like a muscle or something else, where you can kind of work through it. You really have to give it time to heal,” Zeller said. “My rehab has been trying to get some of the swelling out.”
  • Hornets coach James Borrego will make some rotation changes to spark the offense and attempt to end the team’s three-game skid, Bonnell writes in a separate story“There are lineup tweaks that will be made for tomorrow. Not necessarily in the starting lineup. But along the way, trying to find some different combinations of guys as we move throughout a game to give us more offense,” Borrego said. Malik Monk could see his playing time expand at Cody Martin‘s expense, Bonnell speculates.
  • Danilo Gallinari was acquired by the Hawks in a sign-and-trade with the Thunder and made a three-year commitment. However, he’s already thinking about his long-term future, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. In an interview by La Repubblica, Gallinari said he’d like to eventually finish his career by returning to Italy’s Olimpia Milano. “Playing with Olimpia, in a team as strong and ambitious as this season, is a dream for me,” he said.