Basketball In Europe
|Italy international Danilo Gallinari seemed destined up until recently to evolve into the New York Knicks' franchise player|
Italy's Danilo Gallinari loves living in New York City and playing for the Knicks.
It may now be a thing of the past.
According to the American media, Gallinari and his Knicks teammate, Russia center Timofey Mozgov, have been traded to Denver along with Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft for Team USA's Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams and Anthony Carter.
A third team, Minnesota, is also involved in the deal with the Timberwolves sending Corey Brewer to the Knicks in exchange for back-up power forward Anthony Randolph and center Eddy Curry.
There are rumblings that Gallinari and Mozgov could remain on the east coast, however, with a potential trade to New Jersey on the cards.
New Jersey are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
On Gallinari's website, danilogallinari.it, there are numerous tweets of support for one of the country's three NBA players.
The Gazzetta dello Sport website is also running a Gallinari poll, asking readers if he will improve his career in Denver or remain at the same level.
Just 22, Gallinari had been enjoying his best season, his third, since being drafted by New York.
His first two years were marred by injuries, including a back problem that has prevented him from playing for Italy the past three summers.
He was averaging 15.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season, while in his last 10 contests, Gallinari's averages were 17.5 points and 6.1 boards.
However, he was shooting 39.3% from the floor in the 10-game span.
Italian Andrea Bargnani is with Toronto and Marco Bellini is on the books of New Orleans.
Both are stars with the national team and will be hoping that Gallinari joins them this summer in Lithuania when the Italians play at the EuroBasket.
As for the 2.15m Mozgov, he is a rookie in the NBA and despite not playing much this season was not a player the Knicks wanted to lose because of his enormous potential.
The 24-year-old is prone to picking up fouls.
He has had arguably his finest moments as a player with Russia's national team the past two years under national team coach David Blatt.
At EuroBasket 2009, he averaged 11 points and 4.6 rebounds as Russia finished seventh and at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Mozgov averaged 13 and 4.4.
In Turkey last year, he shot 44 of 69 (63.8%) from the floor.
The trade has caught nearly everyone by surprise, including Blatt.
Basketball World News asked the coach if he had heard the news about Mozgov, and he replied by text message: "Just now. Wow. Thanks."