New Orleans Pelicans’ combo forward Dante Cunningham will not pick up his player option and will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Dante Cunningham’s run on the New Orleans Pelicans has likely come to an end.
ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports that Dante Cunningham plans to decline his player option. He will become a restricted free agent this upcoming offseason.
Dante Cunningham was on par to make just over three million dollars next year. He will get much more than that from other teams, looking for bench help. With the Pelicans looking to make changes as it is, Cunningham will take his chances in Free Agency.
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Dante’s time on the Pelicans went underrated. Cunningham put up 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and shot 39.2 percent from deep this season. In every one of his four seasons on the Pels, Cunningham had at least five points, three rebounds and at least 66 games played. He also put up at least 24 minutes per game for New Orleans each new campaign.
If there was a motto for Dante Cunningham, it was effort and consistency. Dante put in some of the best effort in the NBA. His work on the glass, even being undersized, and on loose balls set the tone. This is a man who came to the Pelicans on his last chance in the league. Every year here, he has shown how much he wants this dream to stay a reality.
It will be very tough for the Pelicans to replace Dante. While his three-point shooting was never what New Orleans desperately needed this year, his adaptability to play whatever role the team needed was huge. In his first year, he needed to be a force inside on the glass. He had an offensive game to boot, yet his role changed plenty of times over the past three seasons.
Whether it was his original role of bench leader, into his floor-spacing goals this season, he did his best to fill that role. He went from averaging 0.2 long range looks a game three years ago, to making 1.1 long range looks a game this year. That is going to be a hot commodity for other NBA teams and a big loss for New Orleans basketball.
Dante Cunningham has been a true professional and worker bee on the New Orleans Pelicans. His work ethic and 100 percent attitude on the court has made him one of the role players to count on. However, Dante is doing what is best for his future. We at Pelican Debrief want to thank Cunningham for his superb play over the past three years and wish him the best of luck wherever he ends up next season.