After tearing the same ACL he tore nine years ago, Danilo Gallinari is expected to not suit up one game for the Boston Celtics during the 2022-23 season. However, despite the long recovery time that comes with an injury as severe as a torn ACL, the Celtics did not rule Gallinari out for the season when they announced he had successful surgery to repair his torn ACL.
As of now, there has been no confirmed timetable for his return. If Gallinari is later ruled out for the season, he could be potentially used as a trade asset when he becomes trade eligible, which happens after October 10, three months after he officially signed with the Celtics.
An Eastern Conference executive explained to Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney why Gallinari’s injury could benefit the Celtics in the long run.
“The fact that Gallinari got hurt in the offseason is a little bit of a break because now you can use him as almost a trade exception that you can combine with another guy.”
The executive later explained how the Celtics could utilize Gallinari’s $6.4 million contract, who they could trade him for, and why they would pull the trigger.
“If you want (Jae) Crowder and you think he might help you win the East–when you look at their weaknesses, he definitely could–would you give up (Payton) Pritchard for him? A guy on the last year of his deal, who is 32? I would, A Pritchard and Galllo for Crowder deal works, I think for both sides.”
On September 25, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Crowder and his current team, the Phoenix Suns, have mutually agreed to part ways.
Celtics Named Among Potential Crowder Suitors
On September 26, Charania went on”The Rally” to explain what was going on with the Crowder situation and who he could see as potentially interested suitors. Charania exclusively named teams who Crowder has played for in the past as potential suitors, including the Celtics.
“Sources tell me that both the Suns and Crowder are now working toward finding him a trade out of Phoenix,” Charania said. “When you think about what teams could be interested in Jae Crowder, I would look at the team that he’s played for. Look for teams like Boston, Memphis, Dallas, Miami especially, as teams that could be interested in Jae Crowder.”
Charania then detailed why Crowder would be a desired commodity around the league.
“He’s a 3/4 that can play defense, can make shots, brings a great level of energy and culture to your organization as well.”
Crowder remains a Sun as of October 1, but all indications are he won’t be for long.
Gallinari Aims to Return This Season
On September 21, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reported through a conversation with President of Basketball operations Brad Stevens that Gallinari plans to return this season.
“Stevens said Gallinari, signed to a two-year deal in July, had been strengthening his knee in preparation for surgery and is motivated to return this season. It’s uncertain whether the 34-year-old can respond from his second ACL tear on that rapid of a timeline.”
Since having surgery to repair his torn ACL, Gallinari has posted videos of his rehab while shouting out the Celtics.
Only time will tell if Gallinari will make it back before season’s end. The exec who spoke to Deveney believes the Celtics shouldn’t be optimistic about his return because they’ve been burned in the past for having that mindset with other injured players.
“They’d be dumb to think he might, and I don’t htink they are dumb. It is not impossible but no one wants to come back after a year and pop up in the playoffs. It never works out. They went through that with Gordan Hayward a couple of years ago (in 2017) and they don’t want to have that be an issue next year.”