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Report: Nuggets hoping to work out extension with Danilo Gallinari

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

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Despite reportedly trying to deal him ahead of the draft and into free agency, the Denver Nuggets may see a future for Danilo Gallinari with the franchise.

With a four-year, $46-million extension for Wilson Chandler completed, the Nuggets are now turning their attention to locking Gallinari up for the long haul. Denver is hoping to at least open up extension discussions with the Italian forward, according to a report from Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post.

An extension for Chandler was much easier than Gallinari's should prove. Because the Nuggets were under the salary cap at the time, they were able to re-negotiate the final season on Chandler's current deal, increasing his 2015-16 salary in order to lock him down on acceptable terms through 2019.

For Gallinari, an extension now would mean forgoing an appreciable raise and the chance to be an unrestricted free agent as the salary cap rises substantially in 2016. The Nuggets are now too short on cap flexibility to increase Gallinari's $11.6-million salary for 2015-16, meaning the extension they can offer is somewhat underwhelming - three additional years and roughly $39.8 million.

For a player still rehabilitating his value after more than a season lost due to injury, that security may be tough to pass up. At the same time, Gallinari is still 26, and with the cap exploding, it's not inconceivable a strong season this year would set him up for a much larger deal next summer.

In 59 games last season, Gallinari averaged 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while shooting 40.1 percent from the floor. From 2009-13, he averaged 15.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 41.8 percent and hitting 36.5 percent of his threes, with the skill and offensive upside to be ranked among the best small forward prospects in the game.

His recovery has been slow and, to hear him tell it, frustrating, but he closed the season on an encouraging 23-game run, averaging 19 points and shooting better than 40 percent from outside.

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