Pelicans sign Dante Cunningham _lowres

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014, file photo, former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham talks on his cell phone as he spends time with his dog, Ruger, in Cunningham's motor home in Bellefonte, Pa. Cunningham is living in the motor home as he continues to train. The New Orleans Pelicans have signed Cunningham, who has struggled to clear his name after domestic assault charges against him were dropped this summer. (AP Photo/John Beale, File)

Dante Cunningham’s basketball exile is over.

The New Orleans Pelicans signed Cunningham to give them some much-needed depth at forward and said he would be available Thursday night on the road against Golden State.

“It’s such a relief,” Cunningham told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “I just knew that with the time and the situation that was going on, I kind of had to wait it out and get the right opportunity.”

Cunningham was charged last April with felony domestic assault after his girlfriend at the time accused him of choking her and slamming her head against a wall. She also accused him of sending her threatening messages, but the charge was dropped in August after an investigation uncovered inconsistencies in her story.

Cunningham was a free agent after his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves expired at the end of the season. But even after Hennepin County authorities dropped the charges, many teams were reluctant to consider signing him after the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal rocked the NFL.