Knicks: Free Agent Danilo Gallinari praises Leon Rose

Could former New York Knicks lottery pick Danilo Gallinari make a return to the Big Apple?

Impending free agent Danilo Gallinari was very complimentary about the New York Knicks decision to hire former player agent Leon Rose as team president, an opinion he articulated in a recent interview with Michael Scott of HoopsHype.

Why this matters: After being shipped out of New York as part of the infamous Carmelo Anthony trade, Gallinari has built an impressive career in the NBA, overcoming chronic injury issues to become one of the most lethal shooting forwards in the league. He is set to become a free agent this winter (I’m still not used to saying that instead of summer). With the Knicks in desperate need of perimeter shooting and a forward who can provide proper spacing in a lineup next to Mitchell Robinson, many view Gallinari as an ideal fit.

What did he say? The Italian forward gave praise to the Knicks for hiring Leon Rose.

“The first thing that I think about Leon is the relationship that we have,” Gallinari said when asked about his time working with Rose while being represented by CAA. “When I think about the Knicks, I can say they got the right guy. I’m very happy for him and the Knicks. It doesn’t matter if he’s an agent, if he’s a GM, president, or whatever he’s going to be. We have a great relationship, and he did such a great job for me working with him. I wish him the best in everything he’s going to do. Knowing him, I think he’s going to make sure that he succeeds in every career that he’s going to do.”

Where else could he go? In the same HoopsHype interview, Gallinari said he would “love to run it back” with Oklahoma City, but he is definitely keeping his options open. With the Thunder pivoting towards a rebuild centered around younger players, it would seem unlikely they would pay a large sum to keep Gallo on board.

Gallinari posted a tweet earlier this week showing himself in each of the uniforms he has worn over his 12-year career with a caption “where to next.”

In an interview earlier this month, the 6-foot-11 forward indicated that winning is a priority over signing a lucrative contract, something that could obviously make it more difficult for the Knicks to pull him back to New York.

Gallinari earned $22 million this past season, coming off a 3-year, $64.7 million contract that he originally signed with the Nuggets in 2017. He was later traded to the Clippers as part of the massive deal that sent Paul George out west.

The Knicks will enter the offseason with the ability to create more than $40 million in cap space. They could put Gallinari’s preference for winning over money to the test.