The NBA’s trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and with that comes the expected rumors surrounding Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari.

Gallinari, 28, has been the subject of trade rumors for the better part of a year now; however, despite these rumors, the Italian has remained firm in his desire to remain with the Nuggets.

With that said, the Nuggets are moving forward, and Gallinari may not be part of the Nuggets plan.

According to ESPN’s Mark Stein, the Nuggets are prepared to move Gallinari, due to the growing belief that the Italian will opt out of the final year of his contract to test the free agent market and command more money.

Gallinari has been with the Nuggets since he was traded here in the middle of the 2010-11 season. Since joining the team, he has been the focal point and face of the franchise; however, with the recent emergence of Nikola Jokic the Nuggets are in a position to transition from the Gallo, post-Carmelo Anthony era, to what is expected to be the new era of Nuggets basketball led by Jokic.

With that said, the Nuggets could have traded Gallinari by now if they wanted too. Over the summer a report by an Italian media outlet stated that the Nuggets had a trade offer in hand for Gallo, which they were willing to accept; however, Gallo reassured his commitment to the organization and asked to remain with the Nuggets.

Regardless of what ends up happening, Denver is in a good place right now. They currently are slotted in the eighth seed in the Western Conference, and seem to be real players for that final spot come the end of the year.

Gallinari has been a major factor to the Nuggets’ success this year, averaging 17.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. When healthy, Gallo can be a catalyst on offense, thus the reason there has been a heavy amount of interest in his talents over the course of the last year.

Gallinari would be a nice piece for the Nuggets to keep if they do want to take a shot at the playoffs this season; however, there is a chance Gallo opts out of his contract and leaves Denver free agency. So, Denver would be wise to gauge the value on the trade market before coming to a conclusion on what to do.

The trade deadline is Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. MT.