The Pelicans and Timberwolves were desperate at small forward, and Cunningham rare contributor at the position still available. New Orleans even traded a second-rounder and cash to dump Quincy Pondexter and get far enough below the hard cap to take advantage of Cunningham’s Bird Rights.
That’ll pay off.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
It’s not the $3,106,500 Cunningham opted out of, but a $2.3 million salary beats his minimum ($2,106,470), which is all Minnesota could’ve offered.
That’s a great rate on someone who might be the Pelicans’ starting small forward, considering Solomon Hill‘s injury. Even if he plays behind Tony Allen on a team that starts small on the perimeter, Cunningham will reduce the time New Orleans must rely on also-rans.
Cunningham is probably better at power forward, but he can defend either position. He also has become a good enough 3-point shooter to credibly play small forward.
For the Pelicans, he’s a huge upgrade at a bargain price.