Grade the deal: Pelicans agree to new deal with Dante Cunningham
Cunningham joined the Pelicans last season on a one-year deal and has decided to stay with the team this offseason on a deal that includes a player option on the final season of the deal.
The six-year veteran forward is the latest piece for New Orleans in a busy free agency period that has also seen the team lock down superstar Anthony Davis to a five-year max extension, and keeping Omer Asik on board with a five-year $60 million deal.
Cunningham averaged 25 minutes per game in 67 appearances for the Pelicans last season, putting up 6.0 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.
Analysis: Cunningham was overstretched as a mid-season-signing-turned-replacement-starter in New Orleans last season, yet he still found the means to contribute positively with his defense at both forward spots. A healthier Pelicans team would usher Cunningham back into the kind of lower-stakes role his game warrants. One shouldn’t expect the veteran forward to log 25 minutes a game on average next season as he did last. This contract reflects that. New Orleans is bringing back a proven insurance policy at a reasonable price to play stopgap minutes when called upon. — Rob Mahoney
- Brendan Maloy