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.
Jeremy Lin has discussed people not believing he plays in the NBA.
It apparently still happens.
Lin, whose Raptors are playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, via Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network:
After Game 2 in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee arena just screams at me. He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What?! Where’s your pass?” I was like, “I don’t have a pass. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a pass.”
This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.
It’s a fine line. Lin shouldn’t be profiled as a non-athlete because he’s Asian-American. Arena staffers should keep everyone safe by stopping unauthorized people.
Will Kyrie Irving stay in Boston? If not, what is Plan B?
Is Jimmy Butler back in Philadelphia next season? If he is will Tobias Harris be back?
What are the next steps to turn Denver into a contender?
I get into all of those things with the wise Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (and Celtics Blog, and Real GM), we break down those three teams recently turned out of the playoffs. We also start off talking about teams actually in the playoffs, particularly Toronto’s comeback in the Eastern Conference Finals, and how those teams can take advantage against the Warriors with Kevin Durant out.
As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.
We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.
Just four years ago, Nikola Jokic was a second-round pick still playing in the Adriatic League. Just three years ago, he was battling a struggling Jusuf Nurkic to be the Nuggets’ main center.
Yesterday, Jokic made the All-NBA first team.
Jokic has risen incredibly quickly. Before this season, he had never even been an All-Star.
That makes Jokic the first non-rookie in NBA history to make an All-NBA first team without a prior All-Star season (including ABA All-Stars).
The No. 41 pick in the 2014 draft, Jokic is just the fourth second-rounder to make an All-NBA first team since the NBA-ABA merger. The others: DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol and Marc Price.
For most players not immediately deemed to hold first-round talent, it takes a while to build stature in the NBA. Jokic made the All-NBA first team in just his fourth season. That’s way sooner than Gasol (seventh season), Price (seventh season) and Jordan (eighth season):
The Nuggets didn’t wait for this honor to make Jokic their franchise player. They gave him a near-max contract last summer, and by leading them into the second round of the playoffs, he triggered incentives to reach a max salary.
Denver has built a young supporting cast – mainly Jamal Murray and Gary Harris – to grow with Jokic. The Nuggets also signed veteran Paul Millsap, whose defense complements Jokic’s offensive-minded game.
So much is coming together so quickly for Denver, and Jokic’s honor is just the latest example.
Just after a rumor emerged about the Wizards trying to hire Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey…
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
It’s nice to be wanted. It always adds leverage in contract negotiations.
Olshey has done well in Portland, building a winner around Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum after LaMarcus Aldridge left. But Olshey’s job will get harder now.
Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless each have another season on the expensive contracts Olshey gave them in the wild summer of 2016. That’ll inhibit flexibility this offseason.
Then, Lillard is set to sign a super-max extension that will take effect in 2021. As great as Lillard is, it’ll be difficult building a contender around someone projected to earn $43 million, $46 million, $50 million and $53 million from ages 31-34. There’s so little margin for error, especially if ownership is less willing to pay the luxury tax than the late Paul Allen was.
But Olshey has earned a chance to handle these dilemmas.