Sunday , Jan , 10 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Could Danilo Gallinari help lure LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade to New York Knicks?

He’s 21, an Italian providing hope to the classic New York Knicks, and a candidate for the Most Improved Player award. However, these aren’t his best attributes. Danilo Gallinari is a wildcard in The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010. The forward will surely factor into LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade signing with the Knickerbockers and calling Madison Square Gardens – the Mecca of basketball – home …


Could Danilo Gallinari help lure LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade to New York Knicks?He’s  21, an Italian providing hope to the classic New York Knicks, and a candidate for the Most Improved Player award.

However, these aren’t Danilo Gallinari’s best attributes.

Gallinari is a wildcard in The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010. The forward will surely factor into LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade’s decision to sign with the Knickerbockers and possibly call Madison Square Gardens – the Mecca of basketball – home.

James and Wade must be aware of the baby-faced three-man’s progress. After all, Gallinari is healthy, converting over 40% of attempts from behind the arc, and averaging nearly 15 points per game in just his second NBA season

And he’s always been more than a one-dimensional shooter. In Italy with Armani Jeans Milano, Gallinari was a pick-your-poison scorer, combining serious outside range with an impressive ability to take smaller and/or slower defenders off the dribble.

(Gallinari’s top five highlights from the Italian league.)

Gallinari is also getting to the basket against NBA defenses. For instance, in late November, against the Boston Celtics, he used his size to create separation from Paul Pierce, drove the lane and threw-down a fierce two-handed dunk on Kendrick Perkins, one of the game’s up-and-coming interior defenders.

(A nice two-handed jam against the storied green-and-white.)

More recently, Gallinari delivered another poster-job. This time, he used his shot fake to fool the Indiana Pacers’ Mike Dunleavy Jr., then flew by two defenders, and packed a one-handed jam on shot-blocking behemoth Roy Hibbert.

(What was better the dunk or celebration?)

Of course, Gallinari couldn’t resist giving MSG a little of the Nate Robinson treatment, playfully posing after the dunk, which drew laughs and cheers from fans and teammates alike.

These highlights are significant for a few reasons. First, there’s a misconception the Knicks have tanked the last two years in an effort to clear cap space for July, 2010. This is incorrect -they’ve, in fact, developed a pair of pieces in Gallinari and post David Lee, who is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Second, these pieces provide leverage. For instance, club executive Donnie Walsh can sell the coming free agent class on his talented three-man, Gallinari, and double-double machine, if Lee is re-signed, down-low. Best of all, both are blending pieces that could fit next to a ball dominating superstar. 

Third, suppose the Knicks fail to sign James, Wade, or any premier player next summer. With Gallinari and possibly Lee, the roster should be competitive enough to push for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The front office would then have time to re-adjust without a revolt from fans.        

Right now, Gallinari is delivering. For many reasons, though, the best is yet to come from the promising Italian.

Got thoughts on how Gallinari will influence 2010 free agents like James and Wade? Get at us in the comment box below and follow Oly on HoopsVibe The Blog and Twitter. Photo courtesy of tlen1971.