Danilo Gallinari headed to Clippers in three-team sign-and-trade featuring Nuggets, Hawks

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4468/" data-ylk="slk:Danilo Gallinari">Danilo Gallinari</a> is headed to the Clippers. <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3407/" data-ylk="slk:Jamal Crawford">Jamal Crawford</a> is headed to Atlanta. Picks are changing hands. (Getty)
Danilo Gallinari is headed to the Clippers. Jamal Crawford is headed to Atlanta. Picks are changing hands. (Getty)

Former Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is headed to the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team sign-and-trade that also involves the Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Chris Vivlamore.

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Vivlamore’s report follows multiple reports late Monday night that said the deal was close. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the terms had been agreed upon. The trade can be finalized on Thursday.

Per Vivlamore, and piecing together the reports from Monday night, the final terms of the trade are as follows:

Gallinari, the driving force behind this convoluted swap, will sign a three-year, $65 million contract with the Nuggets, who will then send Gallinari and his new deal to the Clippers. The Clippers wooed Gallinari with a presentation during a meeting on Sunday, but needed to orchestrate a sign-and-trade because they could not fit Gallinari’s salary under the cap.

To balance the deal, the Nuggets and Clippers brought in a third team, the Hawks. Los Angeles will send shooting guard Jamal Crawford, reserve center Diamond Stone, the Houston Rockets’ 2018 first-round pick (top-three protected) and cash to Atlanta.

The Hawks will subsequently send Paul Millsap — who agreed to a three-year, $90 million contract with the Nuggets on Sunday — and the Washington Wizards’ 2019 second-round pick to Denver.

So, on top of the two free agents changing cities — Gallinari to Los Angeles, Millsap to Denver — the Nuggets pick up a second-round pick. The Hawks net a first-rounder that is likely to be in the 25-30 range, a sparsely used sophomore big man in Stone, and Crawford, who is essentially a salary dump.

Crawford, a three-time Sixth Man of the Year, has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $14.2 million in 2016-17 and $14.5 million the following season. Several reports have indicated that Crawford would not like to play in Atlanta, on a Hawks team that is clearly on the verge of launching a rebuild. Per ESPN’s Marc Spears, his preference would be to head back to Los Angeles to join the Lakers.

The Hawks could waive (not likely), trade (plausible) or buyout (also plausible) Crawford to allow him to move to a contender. In fact, the market for Crawford is already taking shape. The Warriors were mentioned as a possible destination before they agreed to a contract with Omri Casspi. ESPN’s Chris Haynes also reported that Cleveland and San Antonio, among others, are interested. But Haynes and others have made it clear that Atlanta would prefer to trade Crawford rather than buy out his contract, unless Crawford offered them a bargain in buyout negotiations.

Gallinari, meanwhile, will form one of the top frontcourts in the league in Los Angeles with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. But the presence of Griffin and Jordan could be both a positive and a negative: It will presumably force Gallinari to primarily play small forward. In the modern NBA, and as he creeps toward the latter half of his career, that fit won’t maximize his effectiveness. Doc Rivers and the Clippers will have some work to do to make the Gallinari-Griffin-Jordan trio work smoothly.

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