Danilo Gallinari might’ve been able to secure more money elsewhere in NBA free agency, but the 33-year-old simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join the Boston Celtics.
“Many, many reasons,” Gallinari told reporters Tuesday during a press conference when asked why he chose to sign with Boston. “But when you think about the Celtics — I grew up, with my dad, since I was a little kid, being a Celtics fan and a Larry Bird fan. So when the Celtics came on the table, it was almost a no-brainer.
“You walk even in this facility and look around, you see what’s going on around with the banners and the history and everything that the Celtics are about. It was an easy choice.”
Gallinari reportedly landed a two-year, $13.3 million contract with Boston after being waived by the San Antonio Spurs following a trade from the Atlanta Hawks. He joins a Celtics team that fell two wins short of a championship, losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals.
It’s probably safe to assume the C’s will be motivated when the 2022-23 campaign tips off. And Gallinari, still in search of his first NBA title, sounds like he’ll have a chip on his shoulder, as well.
“At this stage of my career, when you think about basketball, you think about winning, getting that ring and it’s a constant thought that I have every day,” Gallinari said Tuesday. “It’s that time for me. It’s always been about winning for me. Even when I was younger, it was always about winning. So, especially right now, when you get to this stage — when you’re 33, about to be 34 — it’s what you want and it’s something that you work for every day.”
As for playing at TD Garden? Gallinari is just glad he’ll finally do so as a member of the home team after 14 seasons with the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Hawks.
“I think about it. I have dreams about it,” Gallinari said. “And so I’m glad that now it’s a reality, and I can’t wait to start a season to experience that finally as a Boston Celtics player and not playing against the Celtics. It’s an amazing atmosphere. Everybody knows that, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Gallinari averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season while shooting 43.4% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. At 6-foot-10, he’ll give the Celtics some size and scoring touch off the bench, which also received a boost with the addition of guard Malcolm Brogdon.