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New York Knicks expressing interest in pursuing Dante Cunningham in free agency

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Possessing his Bird rights, the New Orleans Pelicans should remain favorites for his services.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the New York Knicks are expressing interest in pursuing Dante Cunningham during the next free agency period.

New York has also shown preliminary interest in New Orleans Pelicans forward and free-agent-to-be Dante Cunningham, per sources.

Cunningham has developed into a solid 3-point shooter (he led New Orleans in 3-point field goal percentage last season at 39.2 percent). Cunningham also proved to be a significant factor in New Orleans' successes; The Pelicans were 13-8 when Cunningham played at least 28 minutes, per NBA.com (for perspective, that's a winning percentage that would have ranked top-10 in the NBA).

In expanding his shooting range out to beyond the three-point line, Cunningham has transformed himself into a desirable role player at 30 years of age. He was considered to be one of the team’s best 3-and-D wing players this past season despite the fact the Pelicans added Solomon Hill to be one of the leaders in that role one year ago.

With Cunningham declining his player option last month, expect other interested parties to start emerging out of the woodwork prior to July, too. A 6’-8’’ forward who shoots nearly 40% from deep and can guard virtually all but the league’s fastest or biggest players is bound to attract opposing general managers.

Although Cunningham should see offers far exceed his last contract — around $3 million a season — expect the Pelicans to be staunch in their efforts to retain him. Owners of his Bird Rights gives New Orleans the flexibility to go over the cap if need be, so unless Cunningham is offered an out of the blue, Timofey Mozgov type of contract, the expectation should be Dell Demps will do whatever is necessary to bring back a valuable component of Alvin Gentry’s system.