Bulls: Missing on Danilo Gallinari was a blessing in disguise

Danilo Gallinari, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Danilo Gallinari, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Among the biggest rumors that the Chicago Bulls have found themselves tangled up in this summer, the pursuit of Danilo Gallinari proved to be a surprisingly competitive endeavor.

In need of depth at the wing behind Patrick Williams, Chicago was targeting Gallinari to elevate the bench depth and also provide some much-needed 3-point shooting to a team that took the least amount of shot attempts from beyond the arc in 2021-22. However, the Bulls would be unsuccessful with their pitch to Gallo in the end.

Instead, Gallinari would ink a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Although Danilo Gallinari opted to decline an offer from the Chicago Bulls in free agency, this may have ultimately been for the best.

News of this deal was a little surprising, in that the Bulls were rumored to have offered Gallinari $15 million over the same two-year span. The decision to sign with Boston shows Danilo is intent on competing for and hopefully winning a championship, a feat which he has never achieved in the NBA.

For that reason, it’s hard to fault Gallinari here, as he sacrifices a bigger paycheck in pursuit of a ring. However, it’s been significantly easier to hold no hard feelings over this decision when I’m still not sure signing Gallinari would have been the best move for the Bulls in the first place.

Had Chicago signed Danilo, he would have joined Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond, and Patrick Williams as the main frontcourt rotation. Although there’s hope Pat can improve here, as of now, all four of these players are defensive liabilities in the post. Chicago entered this offseason needing to improve their interior defense, and this would have felt like a big step in the wrong direction.

Now, I haven’t been the biggest proponent of the Bulls’ decision to sign Goran Dragic, but it’s still worth noting that had Chicago signed Gallinari, their other moves would have been impossible to complete while remaining under the luxury tax threshold. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have Dragic, Derrick Jones Jr., and a partial MLE to use at the buyout market than just Gallinari by himself.

Chicago certainly did not have the splashiest of summers, but I’m unsure if adding a veteran who doesn’t punch above his weight on the glass and struggles to stay in front of opposing players on defense is even a splash worth making in the first place. For an elite defensive team like the Celtics, sure, Danilo is worth the gamble. But for the Bulls, adding a one-dimensional player ⁠— whose offensive production has also dipped nearly 40% since turning 30 years old ⁠— always felt ill-advised in my opinion.

I’m still not sure the Bulls have actually managed to address the team’s biggest areas of need, but I do know that signing Gallinari to a multi-year deal would have hampered the team’s flexibility moving forward.

Fortunately, trades and the buyout market still present two viable options for the Chicago Bulls to continue improving without overpaying for aging talent. The front office believes it’s time to see just how good this team really is when fully healthy before making any more radical changes, and I think I agree.