Gal­li­nari: Join­ing the L.A. Clip­pers gives him “the best chance to win.”»

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Kos­mider

LAS VE­GAS» The high­lights of Danilo Gal­li­nari’s ca­reer in Den­ver played on big-screen TVS through­out the room in­side UNLV’S Thomas & Mack Cen­ter on Satur­day af­ter­noon. Clips of the 6-foot-10 for­ward drain­ing 3point­ers, dunk­ing in traf­fic and throw­ing be­hind-the-back passes, all while wear­ing a Nuggets jer­sey, played on a loop.

Then Gal­li­nari walked into the room with a view of the Las Ve­gas Strip, sat next to his new coach, Doc Rivers, and was of­fi­cially an­nounced as the new­est mem­ber of the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers.

Those high­lights that kept rolling over­head, of “Gallo” play­ing in Nuggets col­ors, rep­re­sent only mem­o­ries now.

“Just like for ev­ery player, it wasn’t easy,” Gal­li­nari said of leav­ing Den­ver. “After seven years there, it’s not easy for any player to make that change. The love and in­ter­est the Clip­pers showed me was amaz­ing. The meet­ings with them were great, and I think that’s the team that gave me the best chance to win in my free agency. That’s the most im­por­tant rea­son.”

The Clip­pers had cov­eted Gal­li­nari for two years, Rivers said. They like bigs with ver­sa­til­ity and be­lieve their new for­ward fits the bill. Gal­li­nari is com­ing off a sea­son in which he av­er­aged 18.2 points and shot 44.7 per­cent from the field.

“One of the rea­sons we wanted him was the ver­sa­til­ity,” Rivers said. “He has the abil­ity to play the three (small for­ward) or the four (power for­ward). His pass­ing abil­ity, his scor­ing abil­ity, his play­mak­ing abil­ity, with him and Blake (Grif­fin) … I don’t know if there’s any bet­ter com­bi­na­tion in the league.”

The Clip­pers were hit last month with the de­par­ture of Chris Paul, the all-league point guard who moved to Hous­ton in a sign-and-trade deal. There is no re­plac­ing a player of his cal­iber, but Rivers said he is con­fi­dent the re-sign­ing of Grif­fin and the addi- tions of Gal­li­nari, Euro­pean point guard Mi­los Teo­dosic and “in­sti- gator” Pa­trick Bev­er­ley — a guard the Clip­pers re­ceived from Hous- ton in the trade — will keep L.A. in the mix in the NBA’S treach­er­ous West­ern Con­fer­ence.

Gal­li­nari said he is itch­ing to get back into the post­sea­son. When was traded to the Nuggets in 2011, in a block­buster trade that sent su­per­star Carmelo An­thony to the Knicks, he was a part of three straight trips to the post-sea­son. Dur­ing the 2012-13 sea­son, he helped the Nuggets set fran­chise records for con­sec­u­tive wins (15) and over­all wins in an NBA reg­u­lar sea­son (57) be­fore suf­fer­ing a knee in­jury that cost him more than a full sea­son.

“Those win­ning times, es­pe­cially that last sea­son (in 2013) when we set all those records for the fran­chise, those are great mem­o­ries,” Gal­li­nari said.

John Leyba, The Den­ver Post

Vet­eran for­ward Danilo Gal­li­nari no longer plays for the Nuggets, hav­ing joined the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers in a sign-and-trade deal.

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