HoopsHype Dante Cunningham rumors

December 16, 2014 Updates

Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham said he spoke to NBA officials and said the league is investigating two separate second-quarter incidents involving him in Sunday’s game against Golden State. Both Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green were struck in their face inadvertently by Cunningham on two separate plays. Barnes suffered a nasal fracture, a chipped tooth and had a mouth laceration that required stitches. He did not return after he left the game holding a towel to his mouth with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter. Green suffered a bloody nose after catching Cunningham’s elbow just before halftime. However, he returned to play in the second half to help spark the Warriors to a 128-122 overtime victory that extended their winning streak to 16 consecutive games. New Orleans Times-Picayune

December 4, 2014 Updates

Despite not being on an NBA roster, the 27-year-old stayed ready by working out and playing basketball in Pennsylvania and at Nike’s campus in Portland, where he played two seasons for the Trail Blazers. Cunningham was signed by the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday morning and will be available to play in tonight’s game at Golden State (9:30 p.m., TNT). “It’s a great opportunity to get here, sign and be part of this great organization,” Cunningham said at Pelicans shootaround this morning. “It’s been a rough couple months, but at this time, it’s definitely behind me. I’ve learned, I’ve grown and I’m a stronger person for it. Being back where I love to be (playing basketball), it’s definitely a weight off of my shoulders. … My name is cleared. I’m now just trying to rebrand it and make sure it’s ‘Dante Cunningham’ once again.” NBA.com

New Orleans (8-8) used one of its two open roster spots to sign Cunningham, who worked extensively with Pelicans Coach Monty Williams when both were in Portland during Cunningham’s rookie year of 2009-10. That relationship was one reason the Villanova product was enthusiastic about signing with New Orleans. “It’s a blessing,” Cunningham said. “Coming from Portland my rookie year, he was a coach I looked up to. He taught me the ropes, taught me how to be a professional. Taught me what you need to do to be successful in this league. Clearly, he has the formula. Coming out of the situation I was in, I couldn’t ask for a better situation than this right here.” NBA.com

Pelicans: The Pelican have signed free agent forward Dante Cunningham. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Twitter

December 2, 2014 Updates

League sources confirmed Monday the Pelicans are strongly considering acquiring unrestricted free agent forward Dante Cunningham, who worked out for the team over the weekend. Pelicans general manager Dell Demps was not available for comment. But when asked after Monday’s practice about Cunningham, Williams said he is not a Pelican. New Orleans Times-Picayune

''We’re looking at a number of options,’’ Williams said. ''We’ve had a few guys playing in that spot (small forward) like I said the other day, I don’t want to change from game to game. But I will if I feel like it will help our team.'' New Orleans Times-Picayune

December 1, 2014 Updates
November 30, 2014 Updates

Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans is seriously considering signing forward Dante Cunningham, sources tell Yahoo Sports. He worked out for Pelicans this weekend. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

Adrian Wojnarowski: Cunningham had domestic assault charges dropped and has become viable for teams. Monty Williams has history w/ Cunningham in Portland. Twitter @WojYahooNBA

November 9, 2014 Updates

According to the Associated Press, police concluded that Miryah Herron made false accusations against Cunningham, and the Hennepin County district attorney decided not to press charges. Still, it left Cunningham having to explain why he was involved in such a situation and NBA teams moving forward without him. Boston Globe

His agent, Joel Bell, told the Globe that Cunningham likely missed out on a multiyear contract because the charges weren’t dropped until seven weeks after free agency began. Monies dried up and he became an afterthought. “Teams were like, ‘We don’t need the fuss,’ ” Bell said. “They said, ‘We don’t want to see protesters. It’s a hot-button issue in the country right now.’ I provided all the documents to the teams, police reports, and he’s innocent. There’s no question he was innocent.” Boston Globe

“No one needs compassion and understanding [for Cunningham], he didn’t do anything wrong,” Bell said. “I had somebody tell me they were sure somebody will give him a second chance. What second chance? He didn’t do anything wrong. The mentality is compassion for this guy because he got a raw deal but you should hire him on the merits of his abilities. He’s an NBA rotation player. He’s a valuable NBA player.” Boston Globe

Cunningham is in State College, Pa., working out at Penn State University, waiting for a call. Since he is not a premium free agent, interest has been tepid. Players averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds aren’t uncommon in the NBA. “He’s training, he’s waiting for an opportunity,” Bell said. “This is a really horrible, unfair situation and it’s all due to the political climate in the country. He got a horrible hand. He didn’t do anything wrong and he’s had his profession taken away from him. He’s had big offers taken away from him. He’s been booed by people.” Cunningham wasn’t available for comment but Bell said last week that his client is in shape and ready to join a team. Since the charges were dropped, it is uncertain if the NBA would suspend or penalize Cunningham. Boston Globe

October 23, 2014 Updates

Two executives with NBA teams told the AP the domestic violence charge was not a deal-breaker for their teams to consider Cunningham, but it definitely made it more difficult to bring him in. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on team personnel decisions. Cunningham's agent, Joel Bell, estimates Cunningham could have landed a deal paying him more than $4 million per season were it not for the charge. He said he was told as recently as Monday by one team that it couldn't risk the public relations trouble that could come from signing him. "Why would owners be skittish and worried about bringing him on board?" Roberts said. "Why are we afraid to say he didn't do anything wrong and there's no evidence to support that he did anything wrong?" Boston Herald

Players' union executive director Michele Roberts told the AP that she has had substantive dialogue with the league about addressing domestic violence and educating players and their families about it. But as a former public defender, she is also an advocate for due process. "I don't, quite frankly, know what the rush is," Roberts said. "Many of the teams are saying, until this is resolved I'd like at least for you to not play. I'm not fond of that." Boston Herald

He is now an ex-Timberwolves forward, an NBA free agent who is living in a motorhome at a campground near the campus of Penn State, where a former college teammate is on the coaching staff and runs him through workouts. He is staying in the motorhome for reasons of convenience and not monetary. But the journeyman player who was hoping to get a new multi-million dollar contract this summer says he hasn't even gotten an offer for the league minimum because teams have told them it's too risky to bring him in. "At this point it's about justice and it's about clearing my name," the 27-year-old forward told The Associated Press. "Clearly this adds a terrible stigma to my name. ... Now when anyone looks up Dante Cunningham, oh, wasn't he the one that was in trouble? There's nothing out there saying there was a false charge and now we have to change it. We have to bring justice to this situation so that this doesn't happen again." Boston Herald

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