The Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies swapped some bench depth today.
The Wolves have officially traded guard Wayne Ellington to the Grizzlies for forward Dante Cunningham.
“We thank Wayne for his three seasons with the Wolves. He was the consummate professional and we wish him the best in Memphis, ” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “In Dante Cunningham we are getting a versatile forward who brings a defensive presence and an efficient offensive game to our team. Also, the addition of Dante helps balance our roster.”
Cunningham, 25, was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft. In three seasons in the NBA, the 6-8 forward has averaged 5.2 points, on 48.5 percent shooting, and 3.3 rebounds in 205 games (25 starts).
As a rookie with Portland in 2009-10, Cunningham averaged 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 63 games. The 6-8 forward started the 2010-11 season with Portland before being traded on Feb. 24, 2011, along with Joel Pryzbilla, Sean Marks and two future first round draft picks to the Charlotte Bobcats for Gerald Wallace. For the season, Cunningham averaged 6.2 points and 3.6 rebounds. He signed with the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 20, 2011, and averaged 5.2 points, shooting a career-best 51.6 percent from the field this past season. Cunningham also pulled down a career-high 3.8 rebounds per game, including grabbing a career-high 14 boards vs. Minnesota on March 27, 2012.
Ellington (6-4, 200) joins the Grizzlies with career averages of 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds on .412 shooting (.376 three-point shooting) in 18.7 minutes in 189 games (13 starts) over three seasons with Minnesota. The 24-year-old posted 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in a career-high 19.1 minutes in 51 games (four starts) for the Timberwolves last season.
The Wynnewood, Penn. native was selected by Minnesota in the first round (No. 28 overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft after being named Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 NCAA Final Four and leading North Carolina to a national title. He earned All-ACC Tournament honors in each of his three collegiate seasons and finished his Tarheels career ranked second in UNC history with 229 made three-pointers.