Danilo Gallinari (born August 8, 1988) is an Italian professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After spending his first four years as a professional in his native Italy, Gallinari was drafted sixth overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. He played with the Knicks for two and a half seasons before being traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2011. In 2017, he was acquired by the Clippers. His nickname is Gallo, which is Italian for “rooster”.
Gallinari started playing professionally in 2004 for Casalpusterlengo, a team in Serie B1 (third level in Italy). In 2005, Gallinari was acquired by Armani Jeans Milano, which then sent him to Edimes Pavia, a team competing in the Italian league second division championship during the 2005–2006 season, so that he could earn more experience with extended playing minutes. Even though he played only half of the season due to an injury, in 2006 he was nominated as the best Italian player of the Italian league second division championship, averaging 14.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 0.8 assists in 17 games. In 2006, he was recalled by Olimpia Milano to play in the 2006–2007 Italian league first division championship and also in the second level tier European wide cup competition, the ULEB Cup (now called EuroCup). In his first season in the top Italian division, Gallinari was named as the league’s best player under the age of 22, averaging 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 assists per game in 34 regular season games and 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals, and 0.9 assists per game in 8 playoff games. During the season, he also won the 2007 Italian All Star Game 3-point shootout contest. He spent his last season with Milano in the top Italian league, finishing first in the league’s overall efficiency ratings. During the 2007–2008 season, he averaged 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.3 assists per game in 33 regular season games and 18.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game in 8 playoff games. In the 2007–2008 season, he also played for the first time in the elite Europe-wide competition, the EuroLeague, which is the first tier level continental club competition of Europe. In the EuroLeague, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game in 11 games; he posted a season-high 27 points against Maccabi Tel Aviv in his final game. He made an instant impact on basketball courts around the continent, and he was subsequently named the EuroLeague 2007-08 season’s Rising Star award winner.
New York Knicks (2008–2011)
His contract with Olimpia Milano had an escape clause for playing professionally in the United States, effectively eliminating major encumbrances that would have prevented him from joining the NBA. On April 23, 2008, he decided to declare himself eligible for the 2008 NBA draft. Gallinari signed an endorsement deal with Reebok before being drafted into the NBA. He has his own sneaker, made by Reebok, called “The Rooster.” Gallinari was drafted 6th overall in the 2008 draft by the New York Knicks. He then signed a two-year contract with the team. Just one game into the 2008–09 season, it was announced Gallinari would most likely miss most of the remainder of the season due to back problems. Despite his back problems, he came back into play on 17 January, during a game the Knicks lost to Philadelphia. On 4 March, Gallinari scored a season-high 17 points against the Atlanta Hawks, shooting 4–5 on three-point field goal attempts. On October 23, 2009, the Knicks picked up Gallinari’s contract option. With the Knicks freeing up roster space for Gallinari with the trade of Quentin Richardson, and with Al Harrington being relegated to the bench, head coach Mike D’Antoni named Gallinari a starter two games into the 2009 NBA season. On October 31, 2009, the third game of the 2009 season, Gallinari scored a career-high 30 points and made eight three-pointers in an overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, one short of tying a Knicks franchise record held by Latrell Sprewell and John Starks. Gallinari set a new career high on April 6, 2010, with 31 points in a 104-101 win over the Boston Celtics.
Denver Nuggets (2011–2017)
On February 22, 2011, Gallinari was traded to the Denver Nuggets in a three-team trade, which also involved the Minnesota Timberwolves, that brought Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York. In just his second game with the Nuggets, he almost matched his career high with a 30-point effort in an overtime loss against the Portland Trail Blazers. During the 2011 NBA lockout he returned to Italy to play for Emporio Armani Milan. On January 25, 2012, Gallinari signed a multi-year contract extension with the Nuggets. On April 5, 2013, it was announced that Gallinari would miss the remainder of the 2012–13 season because of an ACL injury. The same injury forced him out of the entire 2013–14 season as well. On October 29, 2014, Gallinari made his return for the Nuggets, scoring 7 points on 1-of-8 shooting in a season opening win over the Detroit Pistons. On March 22, 2015, Gallinari scored a career-high 40 points on 12-of-21 shooting in a 119–100 win over the Orlando Magic. Gallinari later eclipsed his career high with 47 points in a double overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks on April 10, 2015. On August 3, 2015, Gallinari signed a two-year contract extension with the Nuggets. On November 17, 2015, he scored a season-high 32 points in a 115–98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. On February 5, 2016, he set a new season high with 33 points in a 115–110 win over the Chicago Bulls. Gallinari missed the final 22 games of the season due to an ankle injury. On April 9, 2017, Gallinari scored 22 of his season-high 34 points in the third quarter of the Nuggets’ 106–105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles Clippers (2017–2019)
On July 6, 2017, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Gallinari from the Denver Nuggets as part of a three-team trade that sent Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone and the Clippers’ 2018 protected first round draft pick (via Houston) to the Atlanta Hawks and a 2019 second round draft pick from Atlanta (via Washington) to Denver. In his debut for the Clippers in their season opener on October 19, 2017, Gallinari scored 11 points in a 108–92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On December 6, 2017, Gallinari returned to action against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing a month due to a glute injury. However, on December 20, he was ruled out until at least January with a partial tear of his left glute muscle. On February 5, 2018, he scored 28 points in a 104–101 win over the Dallas Mavericks. However, on February 27, 2018, he was once again ruled out due to a non-displaced fracture to his right hand. In March 2019, Gallinari scored 20 or more points in nine straight games, marking the best scoring streak of his career.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–present)
On July 10, 2019, the Clippers traded Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for NBA All-Star player Paul George. On August 4, 2019, it was reported that Gallinari underwent an appendectomy.