Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham was arrested Sunday — his second arrest in less than a week — after turning himself in amid accusations that he'd made "terrorist threats" via text message to a woman with whom he lived after he had been charged with attempting to strangle her in their Medina, Minn., home.
Police say they were call to a residence on the 400 block of Medina Road on a possible violation of an order of protection Sunday morning around 3 a.m.
Police say Cunningham sent his girlfriend threatening text messages that rose to a terroristic level.
Cunningham turned in his cell phone and computers to investigators, police say.
The order of protection had been put into place following Cunningham's arrest early last Thursday morning on suspicion of domestic abuse, in which the 26-year-old forward faces one felony count of domestic assault by strangulation. From Paul Walsh of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
According to the complaint in last week’s incident, the woman told authorities that the two have been living together for eight months but having problems lately, including an argument about 3:30 a.m. Thursday after which Cunningham left in anger and she then locked the bedroom door.
A short time later, the complaint stated, Cunningham returned, kicked in the bedroom door, slammed her against the wall and choked her for about 15 to 20 seconds before letting her go and leaving.
Cunningham was released from jail on the initial charges on Friday night after posting $40,000 bail. He then flew to Florida to meet the traveling Timberwolves, starting at power forward in place of the injured Kevin Love (back spasms) for Saturday night's game against the Orlando Magic. He scored 12 points on 5 for 9 shooting to go with six rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal in 34 minutes in the shorthanded (Minnesota was also missing Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin) and playing-out-the-string Wolves' 100-92 loss to the Magic. From Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune:
Under the NBA’s labor agreement with its players, Cunningham has a right to go back to work while the legal process plays out in his legal case filed Friday in Hennepin County Court.
The NBA or its teams doesn’t discipline or suspend players for off-court legal matters until the legal process is finalized, which conceivably could play out longer than Cunningham remains a Timberwolf. His contract — at a $2.2 million annual salary — expires after this season and he will be a restricted free agent in July.
Cunningham declined to comment through a team spokesman, citing those legal issues.
The Wolves consulted with the league on the matter and Cunningham met the team in Orlando Saturday afternoon.
“I talked to him and Dante said he wanted to play,” [head coach Rick] Adelman said. “I didn’t see any reason why he wouldn’t at this point.”
Cunningham posted $150,000 bond and was released from police custody on Monday night. No charges have yet been filed stemming from Sunday's arrest, but authorities are continuing to investigate.
The Timberwolves issued a statement Sunday: "The situation with Dante Cunningham is very fluid and we continue to monitor all available information. We reiterate that the Minnesota Timberwolves do not condone the behavior described in the accusations. We continue to wait for the legal process to run its course and will have further comment when appropriate."
A second-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2009, Cunningham is averaging 6.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and one assist in 20 minutes per game for Adelman's club this season, his second with the Wolves after being traded to Minnesota by the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for shooting guard Wayne Ellington in July 2012. He's in the final season of the three-year, $6.27 million contract he signed with Memphis in the summer of 2011, and will be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason.
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