Although we’ve known Gallinari has wanted to return to his old team for quite some time now (originally just to practice), as of Tuesday, Sept. 20, he is officially a member of Olimpia Milano. This breaks a streak of three former Nuggets (Smith, Ely and Chandler) signing in China, and assures Nuggets fans will get a chance to see Gallinari back in Denver this season should the lockout be resolved.
It’s quite interesting how this entire scenario has unfurled. If you remember correctly, at the beginning stages of the lockout when players were fleeing to various countries all across Europe, Wilson Chandler nearly reached an agreement with Olimpia Milano, but once the news broke that Gallinari would be interested in playing there as well, Chandler essentially killed the deal from advancing any further and abruptly signed in China — roughly 5,000 miles away.
Fast-forward one month and Gallinari has in fact rejoined his old team, Olimpia Milano. I think it’s fair to say that Chandler didn’t want to find himself in Gallinari’s shadow yet again for the third different team in a row. You can’t blame him really. I’m sure at this stage of his career he wants to carve his own career path (forfeiting a year of NBA experience to play in China is certainly one way to get it done) and breaking away from Gallinari is a vital part of this maturation process.
As for Gallo, we’ll try and keep everyone updated on his performance in Italy, but I can tell you right now that we expect big things from him. Three years of NBA experience should be more than enough exposure to allow Gallo to return to Europe and contend for the MVP right off the bat. For the big Gallinari fans who will be following him closely, keep an eye on his field goal percentage, as it’s the one area of his game that still needs drastic improvement.