The Nuggets Are Giving Danilo Gallinari An Additional $34 Million On His Contract

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According to a report, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is in the process of restructuring his current contract, which will include an additional $34 million. Rather than try and parse out the Byzantine specifics of the deal ourselves, we’ll let Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports do the heavy lifting:

“The deal is a restructuring that includes a $2.5 million increase on the $11.5 million owed to Gallinari as he enters the final year of his contract in 2015-16, sources said.

Under the newly negotiated terms, Gallinari will make $14 million this season, the first of a deal that runs through the 2017-18 season, sources said. He will make $15.5 million in 2016-17 and has a player option worth $16.1 million for the third year of the deal and a full trade kicker, sources said.”

The Nuggets freed up the necessary cap space to do so when they traded embattled point guard Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets over the weekend. But it still begs the question as to why they’d make such a commitment to a player who’s still trying to fully recover from a torn ACL he suffered two seasons ago and several subsequent surgeries.

That’s at least partially because Gallinari would’ve become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and, if healthy and productive, probably would’ve commanded an even larger payday as the salary cap balloons over the next year. Admittedly, it’s a small sample size, but Gallinari showed shades of his pre-injury self after the All-Star break in February when his season averages jumped from 12.4 points and 3.7 rebounds to 18.6 points and 4.8 rebounds on 44 percent shooting from the floor and better than 40 percent from three over the last 20 games or so.

From the organization’s perspective, a player of Gallinari’s caliber is insurance, of a sort. First, he fits into the style of play new coach Mike Malone and the front office prefer moving forward, i.e. the emphasis on ball movement and three-point shooting that has overtaken the rest of the league. He, along with the Wilson Chandler (who also recently re-upped with the team on a four-year, $46 million deal) are both stretch fours who can allow the Nuggets to go small and offer them the type of floor spacing they desire.

Of course, it’s a big gamble that they’ll both stay healthy and productive over the next 3-4 years. Still, there’s another elephant in the room that is at the heart of these decisions. With all the upheaval in recent years, Denver has had trouble attracting high quality free agents. It initially appeared that they got back a bunch of spare parts in the Lawson trade (Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson), but they also got a 2016 protected first-round pick.

They’re hoping they’ve struck gold with Emmanuel Mudiay and can continue to slowly build around him. In any case, they’re content to play the long game, but there’s certainly no guarantee that any of this will pan out the way they want. For Gallinari, however, it’s a no-brainer. He just secured his long-term on-court and financial future with little-to-no risk involved.

(via Yahoo Sports)