The Pelicans signed forward Dante Cunningham on Thursday, and he might be even more desperate than your average in-season call-up.
“My name is clear, and I am just trying to re-brand it and make sure it’s just Dante Cunningham again,” he said.
Cunningham was charged in April with felony domestic assault after his girlfriend at the time accused him of choking her and slamming her head against a wall. The charge was dropped in August after an investigation uncovered inconsistencies in her story.
Many teams still didn’t want to touch him until Thursday, when Cunningham was reunited with Pelicans coach Monty Williams, who was an assistant when Cunningham was on the Blazers in 2009.
The 6-foot-8 Cunningham will be available for Thursday night’s game against the Warriors in Oakland.
“I will dive on the floor, run up and down the floor 30 times a touch; whatever Coach Monty needs, I will do it,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham has appeared in 366 career NBA games (41 starts) with Portland, Charlotte, Memphis and Minnesota, holding career averages of 6.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.
He was drafted by the Trail Blazers in 2009 when Williams was an assistant in Portland. Williams said he likes Cunningam’s versatility and endurance.
“It’s a blessing being here,” Cunningham said. “Coach Monty was the one who taught me the ropes when I was a rookie. He taught me how to be a professional and what you have to do to be successful in this league. Clearly he has the formula.
“I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
Cunningham urged authorities to pursue charges against Miryah Herron for making false allegations, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told The Associated Press in October he was reluctant to do so in part because of the message it could send to victims of domestic violence.