Danillo Gallinari will be opting out of the final year of his deal with the Denver Nuggets to test the free-agency market this summer. The Italian forward announced his decision in an interview with BlitzTV.

Gallinari, who averaged 18.2 points on 45 percent FG% during the 2016-17 season, will be seeking for a multi-year contract worth at least $20MM per year. He is scheduled to earn $16MM in the final year of his contract, but the opportunity of landing a huge deal must have motivated the player to gauge his value on the free-agency market.

Despite his forthcoming Free Agency, Gallinari stressed the Nuggets remain his first choice because of the relationship he built with his teammates, staffs, and fans in the Mile High area.

“The relationship between me, the city and the organization is great,” Gallinari said in an interview as translated by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “This is the reason why I would love to reach an agreement to remain in Denver. I love it here. And I would love to remain with the Nuggets.”

Gallinari to Boston?

However, Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has been non-committal so far with regards to Gallinari contract situation as he takes a wait-and-see approach heading into July 1 – the official start of the free-agency window.

According to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, the Boston Celtics pose the strongest threat to Nuggets for Gallinari’s service. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has long been a fan of Gallinari, believing the Italian’s perimeter game and versatility will fit nicely with the system and winning culture they are building in Boston.

Stevens-Hayward reunion

Another player, the Celtics, are closely monitoring is Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward, who is also expected hit the free-agency market this summer. Hayward, who put up 21.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game to earn his first All-Star nod this season, can opt out of the final year of his contract worth $16.7MM for a more lucrative, long-term deal.

While it’s very likely the Jazz re-signs their leading scorer, teams like the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have already expressed their intent to go all-in for Hayward. Ainge’s trump card in luring Hayward to Boston is none other than head coach Brad Stevens, who coached Hayward during their time at Butler.

The Celtics are projected to have roughly $15MM in cap space, but it can balloon to up to $30MM if they let loose of Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller’s non-guaranteed deals.

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