Bulls avoided disaster by not signing Danilo Gallinari

Javonte Green, Danilo Gallinari, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
Javonte Green, Danilo Gallinari, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports) /

After the Chicago Bulls pulled the trigger and re-signed Zach LaVine to a $215 million extension, their next order of business became finding cost-effective talent while remaining beneath the luxury tax threshold. Among Chicago’s biggest free agent targets, Danilo Gallinari was the fish who got away in the end.

Despite presenting the most lucrative offer and remaining the reported frontrunner to sign Gallinari through much of free agency, the Bulls would ultimately miss out on the sharpshooting forward. Instead, he’d opt to sign with the Celtics in pursuit of a championship ring.

It’s unfortunate that Chicago is still struggling to become a prime free agent destination alongside the likes of New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, but missing on this one may have actually ended up being for the best. As confirmed by both Shams Charania and Gallinari himself, Danilo suffered a torn meniscus during Italy’s FIBA World Cup qualifying game against Georgia.

It’s always unfortunate to see a player’s personal career suffer in international competition for representing their home country, especially now that we’re seeing elite NBA talent like Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Doncic dominate the scene. Still, the Bulls can’t help but feel like they dodged a bullet here.

Although the Chicago Bulls failed in their pursuit of free agent Danilo Gallinari, it may have ultimately been for the best.

Just to be clear, I’m not writing a revisionist history now that Gallinari is injured. In fact, I wrote about how Gallinari signing with Boston could end up being a blessing in disguise back in July. The fact is that even if Gallo had remained healthy, there were always going to be big question marks surrounding his potential fit with the team.

Ironically, the player the Bulls signed as a consolation prize — Goran Dragic — is also participating in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers and upcoming Eurobasket tournament for Slovenia. Hopefully, the 36-year-old veteran can avoid the injury bug, as he’s become the vital leader of Slovenia’s rise to basketball prominence internationally.

Gallinari may have avoided damage to his ACL, but he’s still facing an optimistic 6-8 week recovery period. The last thing the Chicago Bulls need right now is an important role player missing the offseason, training camp, and early portion of the season recovering. This much is especially true considering the team is already facing the same situation with Lonzo Ball right now.

This offseason was meant to be one of continuity and building up the Bulls’ on-court chemistry. So far, things seem to be going quite well in that regard given how stars DeMar DeRozan and LaVine have been very hands-on and involved in summer workouts with the young core of Patrick Williams, Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, and Dalen Terry.

The Chicago Bulls are a team in need of answers, not question marks. As it currently stands, that’s what Danilo Gallinari now is and will be for some time, a big question mark. The Boston Celtics are a team that can afford to wait for his return, but we can take solace knowing Gallinari won’t be a burden for the Bulls this season.

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