5 Under the Radar Moves Off Season

Danilo Gallinari, a 14-year-old NBA veteran, will bring much-needed leadership and menace off the bench for the Celtics.

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There have been a few daring moves in this off-season, under Rudi Gobert trading from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves, that have seismic implications for both teams.

And then there were a handful of moves that didn’t resonate on the basketball megaphone, but might make positive differences for the teams that landed those players.

So, it’s not about Malcolm Brogdon going to the Boston Celtics, PJ Tucker going to the Philadelphia 76ers, Dejaunt Murray going to the Atlanta Hawks, or Galen Bronson going to the New York Knicks. All of these transactions are big, and none have escaped the spotlight.

But maybe Donte DeVincenzo did to defending champion Golden State Warriors. This is just one example of under-the-radar moves that cost little money and/or assets and have a chance of becoming huge deals.

And so: Here are the five biggest obscure deals – so to speak – of the off-season so far:

Danilo Gallinari, Boston Celtics

Before we get into the details of this, how about some applause for Brad Stevens? Has the man made a single mistake in his short and fruitful stint as General Motors? Since moving out of the coaching chair two summers ago, Stevens hired Amy Odoka as coach, then brought back Al Horford, acquired Derek White and now Brogdon, none of those moves cost the Celtics a significant role.

Getting the Gallinari off the concessions is perhaps more impressive, from a cost standpoint. He was disqualified by Spurs after being part of the Murray trade from Atlanta and Stevens pounced, falling to a powerful 3-point shootout for a cup of chowdah.

Gallinari reached 38.1% from distance last season in Atlanta, and for most of his career has been a reliable fourth-place player. He should do well with Brogdon on pick and pop, but Gallinari at 6-foot-10 is also a decent after-follower, especially against smaller defenders.

It should fit a modified spin designed to reduce the load from Jason Tatum and Jaylene Brown, who have experienced turnarounds in the NBA Finals. Gallinari isn’t in the prime of his life but he has a few steps left, and all the Celtics need is 15-20 minutes of him each night. He is capable of that.

Otto Porter Jr., Toronto Raptors

It is not uncommon for players, once they have grabbed the championship ring, to move elsewhere. It happens every year. It happened to the Warriors this year when the exodus was led by Gary Payton II, who secured the bag in Portland.

But the least obvious director was going Porter to the Raptors, for much less than what Payton Blazers cost him. And Porter could, in terms of context, be a valuable addition to Toronto as well.

He’s been one of the best bowlers in the league in recent years. The problem with Porter was with his health. He hasn’t played in more than 70 games since 2017-18 and that’s why he fell off the radar.

But he’s a 39.8% 3-point shooter in his career, good for 53rd in NBA history. He rejuvenated him last season, especially in the post-season, where he made a huge impact on the Warriors team. He even started a few games in the NBA Finals while making 40.4% of his three-pointers in the 2022 playoffs.

Porter is only 29 years old and is also a decent defender. Toronto got him on a cheap two-year contract — Porter actually made his bag years ago when Washington gave him a maximum contract — and he’ll happily take whatever is left of him.

D. Anthony Melton, Philadelphia Sixers

He played in the shadows of Ja Morant last season, but the folks at Memphis know how useful Milton is to the cause. Now that he’s in Philly, Milton still has to work behind the likes of James Harden in the backcourt – and the Sixers will discover he’s an uncut gem.

Milton is fast, smart and productive on the bench. That’s exactly what the Sixers want from him, along with defense. Last season he shot 37.4% from depth, averaged 10.8 points and was a stabilizing force when Morant missed a large portion of matches through injury.

Best of all, Milton is only 24 years old and thus hasn’t hit his prime yet.

TJ Warren, Brooklyn Nets

You can count on the one hand how many players in the 2020 bubble were head and shoulders over Warren, and then with the Pacers. He’s been good, averaging 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in 10 games and making a name for himself.

Problem: Due to injuries, no one has heard from him since. Which is why the nets were able to catch him. No one is quite sure what Warren could do after he effectively missed the last two seasons with a series of left foot injuries that required surgery.

Take a look at TJ Warren running through the 2020 reboot bubble.

Had it not been for these injuries, networking — hampered by a salary cap — might not have been in the mix for the free agent. So they’ve landed him on the cheap, and in the best case scenario, Warren will be back to the level of 2020, or soon enough, and the curling will have another weapon alongside Kevin Durant (assuming he’s sticking around) and Kyrie Irving (ditto).

Warren is a mid-range specialist who can create his own shot, and again, if his body is okay, the Nets would seem wise to take small risks.

Kentavius ​​Caldwell Pop, Denver Nuggets

In the Nikola Jokic era, every Nugget team was missing a trip to the NBA Finals. By getting KCP into a deal with Washington (they also got Ish Smith in the deal), they at least have someone who was there and did it — and gave the Lakers some big shots in the 2020 Finals to secure it.

Caldwell Bob is a power man who can shoot and play defense. He’s not a top scorer but the Nuggets, with Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray all set to come back after their injuries, don’t need that from him. They hope his production on the bench, his calm under pressure, and his championship experience will help build a team built for deep post-season sessions.

Basically, the choice was between keeping Boyle Barton and Monty Morris or getting KCP. Denver feels the former Lacker deserves the adventure, and is only 29 years old.

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Sean Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years. You can email him Here, find his archive here and follow him Twitter.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting

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