Report: Pelicans’ Dante Cunningham declining player option

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The Pelicans went 19-16 when Dante Cunningham started and15-32 otherwise this season.

But New Orleans no longer has room to start Cunningham as a small-ball power forward with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis occupying the big-man spots.

More importantly, Cunningham would be due just $3,106,500 if he exercises his player option for next season.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes/status/858350659577434112

A former second-round pick, Cunningham has never earned more than $3 million in his seven-year career. At age 30, this could be his chance to cash in.

Cunningham will hit free agency at a time players like him are a premium – long forwards with the ability to defend every position and make 3-pointers.

He could help plenty of teams, including the Pelicans. They’ll have Cunningham’s Bird Rights, but re-signing Jrue Holiday could put New Orleans near the luxury-tax line. Losing Holiday could mean maximizing cap space to chase a replacement point guard.

Either way, it’s not certain Cunningham will be back. But the odds of him getting a raise look pretty good.