The Timberwolves have acquired versatile forward Dante Cunningham from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for shooting guard Wayne Ellington as he has failed to live up to his expectations as a first-round draft pick. Known as a three-point shooting specialist coming into the NBA, Wayne has posted paltry shooting percentages and has only seen the court when injuries have depleted the players in front of him on the depth chart. Ellington will turn 25 in November and is still a young player, but his shooting line of 40%/32%/80% just could not cut it for a player who has a very limited offensive game and is a non-factor on the defensive end.
Cunningham, 25, can play both SF and PF and was apart of Memphis’ frontcourt rotation largely due to his impressive defense, not to mention he shot a career-high 52% from the field this past season. Cunningham will contribute to a largely improved defensive Timberwolves team and fits in well with the other acquisitions which include Chase Budinger, Greg Stiemsma, and Brandon Roy. Depending on the matchups, Cunninghams role figures to change game-by-game and he should see anywhere from 10-15 minutes a night. The trade may spell the end of Anthony Tolliver’s tenure with the Timberwolves, as he played a similar role to Cunningham last season and Tolliver has many other suitors which include some contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Overall, I really like this move by the Timberwolves as they continue to find players who have a record of being very consistent, team-oriented players and the acquisition of Cunningham should significantly improve Minnesota’s frontcourt defense.