Dante Cunningham rejoins Timberwolves after arrest for assault
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham rejoined the team on Saturday, two days after he was arrested and later charged with felony domestic assault for allegedly choking his girlfriend during an argument.
Cunningham was released from jail on Friday and took a flight on Saturday morning to Orlando, Fla., where the Timberwolves were scheduled to play the Magic. Cunningham was expected to be in uniform for the game.
Cunningham cannot be disciplined by the league and the Timberwolves for the same transgression, under terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The league was expected to wait until it had all the details before deciding on imposing any punishment.
The Wolves said on Thursday shortly after his arrest that they were still gathering information and take the matter ”very seriously.”
The Timberwolves cannot deactivate Cunningham because that could be viewed as a form of discipline and could cause the NBA Players’ Association to file a grievance. Whether he actually plays in the game or not is up to coach Rick Adelman’s discretion.
A criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court said his girlfriend told police they got into the argument early Thursday at his suburban Minneapolis home. The woman, who is not named in the complaint, told police he kicked down a locked bedroom door, grabbed her around the neck and slammed her against the wall, choking her for 15 to 20 seconds during which she could not breathe.
Police said the woman, who had been in a relationship with Cunningham for the past eight months, did not require medical treatment.
Cunningham was charged with one felony count of domestic assault by strangulation. The 26-year-old missed Friday night’s victory over the Miami Heat.
In his fifth year in the league, Cunningham is averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds this season. He is set to become a free agent on July 1 after completing the final year of his contract that pays him $2.1 million this season.
”The Minnesota Timberwolves organization takes the matter very seriously and does not condone the type of behavior that is associated with this situation,” the team said on Thursday. ”However, we need to let the legal process run its course, and will have further comment at the appropriate time.”