The New Orleans Pelicans have 14 guaranteed contracts on the books so only a single open roster spot remains. To those paying attention, one name is still noticeably absent: Dante Cunningham.
According to Basketball Reference, Cunningham has acquired plenty of experience at both forward positions during his time in New Orleans. Coincidentally, many feel he would make for the perfect final addition, being able to provide the team with another trustworthy small forward behind Solomon Hill and a stretch-4 behind Anthony Davis.
Two birds with one stone — however, if it were only that easy.
The elephant in the room is the Pelicans salary cap as the team sits awfully close to the hard cap. (I.e. the line in the sand they cannot step over for any reason.) New Orleans has less than $1.5 million to offer. If you may remember, Cunningham turned down a $3.1 million player option to strike a richer multi-year deal this offseason. Fortunately for Dell Demps, Dante remains in limbo.
So, can the Pelicans realistically re-sign Cunningham? Yes, but the likeliest scenario involves the shedding of some salary, say stretching Omer Asik’s contract, or trading away a player who was not signed this summer and his fit is questionable on this roster. Alexis Ajinca?
In addition to the Cunningham discussion, Kevin, Preston and I talk about the benefit of two superstars on the team who get along like peas and carrots, the importance of this down time prior to the start of training camp for the players and reactions to some recent quotes by DeMarcus Cousins and Davis.