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Dante Cunningham and Local Reporting

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The Times-Picayune continues to provide excellent fodder for blogger takedowns. The latest.

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The great folks over at NOLA.com have "the story" on Dante Cunningham. Unfortunately, they have most all of it wrong. If, for some reason, you go there for news reporting, let me assist you in getting the facts.

In a surprise move to possibly free up enough cap space, the Pelicans waived third-year small forward Darius Miller and rookie power forward Patric Young on Sunday afternoon.

Waiving Darius Miller and Patric Young did not create cap space. In fact, due to the guaranteed nature of most of the contracts on the books for the Pelicans, there is no reasonable way for Dell Demps and company to waive any player on their roster to create cap space. Instead, waiving two players created two open roster spots. Cap space is unnecessary to sign free agents to minimum contracts. This started poorly.

Cunningham, 27, was arrested for domestic assault on his former girlfriend this past April in Minneapolis. However, those charges were eventually dropped in August.

We are missing some key parts of this story here. Things our own Oleh Kosel found in a story dated October 23rd. Considering the current climate, just stating the charges were dropped with no background or link could mean anything. Are the Pelicans signing an abuser? The evidence points to no.

According to the police report obtained by the AP, phone records from Cunningham's hotel room show that no outgoing calls were made the night he was there and surveillance cameras indicate he never left his room until police arrived to arrest him. An investigation of the IP address for the device that sent the threatening messages found that the messages were sent from a device inside Herron's home, not Cunningham's phone.

"Evidence does not show that Cunningham sent the messages and in fact, it appears Herron sent the messages to herself in an attempt to frame Cunningham," Medina Police Officer Charmane Domino wrote.

Police filings also show they had an audio recording of Herron speaking to a friend of Cunningham's in which she says she knew Cunningham had kicked in the door a week earlier. The felony domestic assault charge was dropped in August and authorities never charged Cunningham in the second incident.

Finally, we get to the nitty-gritty. Who is Dante Cunningham the basketball player? What position might he play and how big is he? These are basic things that will color how a casual reader may interpret this signing. Another swing, another miss.

Cunningham, 6 feet 6, 221 pounds, has played five seasons in the NBA, including his first two with the Portland Trail Blazers when Coach Monty Williams was an assistant. Cunningham has a 6.2 career scoring average and 3.9 rebounds.

Maybe Mr. Reid got this information from an old game program. Of course the Pelican game program currently lists Anthony Davis at 220 pounds despite multiple reports from Pelicans.com writer Jim Eichenhofer that Davis weighs over 240 pounds this summer. When considering the consistent inaccuracy from these sources, it is probably best to at least source something, right? How about the NBA Draft Combine, which is archived by Draft Express. Dante Cunningham was a participant in 2009.

Draft Express lists a then 22 year old Cunningham at 6'8.25" and 227 pounds. Basketball Reference lists him at 6'8" 230.  Calling Cunningham 6'6" 221 makes him sound like a small forward candidate. Accurately depicting him at 6'8" 230-ish makes him sound more like a tweener; a small-ball power forward. Anyone actually familiar with Cunningham's game (1-28 behind the arc in over 7000 NBA minutes) can tell you the "small-ball PF" is probably a much more accurate description.

In total, every important piece of this story is incorrect (how the NBA salary cap works, who Dante Cunningham is as a basketball player) or incompletely reported (the domestic abuse charges). Choose your sources of information wisely.