Danilo Gallinari will become an unrestricted free agent this summer for the first time in his career, according to a report.
The Italian forward intends to opt out of the one year remaining on his contract with the Denver Nuggets, which would pay him $16.1 million, and will instead seek a multi-year contract, per Adrian Wojanarowki of The Vertical.
Gallinari has been with the Nuggets since he came over from New York in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster deal in February 2011. He’s averaged 16.2 points (41.9% FG, 36.6% 3s), 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists with Denver.
Gallinari played 63 games last season and averaged 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. He converted 44.7 percent of his field goals and 38.9 percent of his 3s, which were both the highest marks of his career sans his rookie year, when he only played in 28 games.
Wojnarowski wrote that Gallinari “remains open to the possibility of returning to the Nuggets on a long-term deal.”
Gallinari told reporters at his end-of-season interview in April that he was unsure if he’ll be back. One thing he did stress was how much he loved the city of Denver.
“You live in the same city for six or seven years, you have friends, you have your house, you have the place where you go for groceries,” Gallinari said. “These things together make Denver a very enjoyable city.”
Gallinari’s decision to opt out was not a shock to Denver. Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said in April that he expected Gallinari to do so.
“I’m always pretty optimistic,” Connelly said. “But I think it depends on the market. Gallo’s unrestricted, so he’s got a say in where he wants to go as well. I don’t know how the offseason will develop. I think it’s a pretty top-heavy free agent class. I think when the top two or three guys go, the dominoes will start to fall behind them. Like always, we’ll be aggressive. Having familiarity with a guy that we don’t just know but that we like will make the situation a bit easier for us as opposed to the other 29 teams.”
The Nuggets made the playoffs in each of Gallinari’s first three seasons with the team, but they’ve failed to qualify for the postseason since 2013.
Gallinari turns 29 in August.
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