When you’re a free agent trying to latch on to a bench role on a team, a very public arrest and court case is going to keep teams away from you.
That is what Dante Cunningham faced. The free agent who played with Minnesota last year had been arrested on some ugly domestic violence charges (choking his girlfriend), that led to him getting booed by home fans at the end of last season then no team going near him in free agency this summer.
Monday, all those charges were dismissed. His job search will now start in earnest.
The Associated Press had the details.
But Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman issued a statement on Monday saying that “based on further investigation, there is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt for the charged offense.”
“In the deepest part of my heart, I knew what happened. I knew the situation and I knew I was going to be cleared,” Cunningham told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday evening. “I was hoping that all would’ve been done before the season ended. But God has a plan and here I am today and just ready to go forward.”
Cunningham, 26, averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds a game in about 20 minutes a night off the bench for the Timberwolves last season. He’s a pick-and-pop big man who thrives on the long two on offense — he took 58 percent of his shots from 16 feet out to the arc. While he hit a respectable 39.2 percent of those that’s still a pretty inefficient shot and with that Cunningham is a pretty inefficient scorer. What likely lands him a contract is that he’s a pretty good defender, especially against the pick-and-roll, and he can defend the three or the four.
At this point he’ll be playing for the minimum most likely, but after this he’ll be happy just to be in the Association.
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.