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May 04, 2011

More on Cunningham's situation

Charlotte Bobcats forward Dante Cunningham was arrested Friday in suburban Philadelphia, after police found a small amount of marijuana in his car during a traffic stop.

The Bobcats put out a brief statement saying they’re aware of the situation and will have no further comment until Cunningham’s legal process is resolved.

Some additional background, on Cunningham’s contract status and the NBA’s policy concerning marijuana:

Cunningham, who just completed his second NBA season, made about $762,000 last season. His contract expires July 1, so the Bobcats don’t currently have any financially obligation to him.

          The Bobcats can make Cunningham a restricted free agent by making him a qualifying offer in June. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, that qualifying offer would be 125 percent of his current salary, or about $952,000.

          At the conclusion of the season last month, owner Michael Jordan and coach Paul Silas both indicated a desire to re-sign Cunningham, who was part of the package the Portland Trail Blazers sent to the Bobcats in the Gerald Wallace deal.

          Cunningham played well for Silas, making the transition from power forward in Portland to small forward here. He started nine games late-season, replacing the injured Stephen Jackson, and scored 21 points in a victory at New Jersey April 11.

          Marijuana is covered under the NBA’s current Anti-Drug Policy. Quoting from that policy:

          “If a player tests positive for marijuana during Random Testing or Reasonable Cause Testing, or he is convicted of, or pleads guilty, nolo contendre or no contest to, the use or possession of marijuana in violation of the law, he will be required to enter the Marijuana Program.’’

          Three violations of the NBA’s marijuana policy results in an automatic five-game suspension.

          It’s unknown whether Cunningham might already be in the NBA’s anti-drug program, since the league generally keeps those measures confidential until a suspension is warranted.

          Original Bobcats owner Bob Johnson established a strict personal-conduct policy for team employees at the franchise’s outset. However, current owner Michael Jordan says he wasn’t aware of Johnson’s policy when he first joined the team as head of basketball operations.

          Jordan has been less stringent in his approach to player conduct.

Posted by Observer Sports on May 4, 2011 at 02:06 PM | Permalink


Not a big deal. JJ Redick was busted for the same thing under my supervision and we decided not to suspend or punish him. He turned out just fine.

Posted by: Coach K | May 4, 2011 2:34:50 PM

Yeah, a small amount of weed. Come on...I hope they bring him back

Posted by: tom P | May 4, 2011 2:41:54 PM

Kids, let this be a lesson to you. If you smoke marijuana, the best thing you'll ever be is a record-setting Olympic swimmer, play in the NFL or in the NBA, or get elected President.

Our current drug laws are nuts.

Posted by: BullCityDog | May 4, 2011 2:42:54 PM

This is like being "caught" with an unopened six pack in the backseat.

Posted by: Peter | May 4, 2011 2:55:56 PM

how has jordan been less stringent? cunningham is the 1st bobcat to be arrested as far as i can remember

Posted by: Bronsyn | May 4, 2011 3:08:28 PM

I like this kid - so maybe do some digging and make sure he doesn't have a habit that is impacting his play on the court or that could get him in more trouble. If he learns his lesson then I say bring him back next year.

Posted by: TopScout | May 4, 2011 3:13:02 PM

It is a joke within the NBA .... everyone is stoned....just look at our previous lottery pick Adam Morrison....the NBA will need to deal with this but no time soon cause LOCKOUT is coming!

Posted by: Scott Silverstein | May 4, 2011 3:31:36 PM

If this is the worst thing to happen to a player, then I think the Bobcats will be ok.

Posted by: PantherDave | May 4, 2011 3:32:18 PM

Pot should be legal anyway. Legalize it, regulate it and tax the heck out of it.

Posted by: Legalize It | May 4, 2011 3:40:38 PM

I've heard that MJ is a stoner too. So what? It's just a plant that grows in all 50 states without human intervention (see "ditch weed").

Making pot illegal is like trying to make fescue illegal. It just don't work.

Posted by: SSGPat | May 4, 2011 3:42:33 PM

Dante's biggest mistake was driving in a manner that warranted his getting pulled over. Secondly, having the weed and paraphanalia in the car not too wise.

Guilty, as charged, of stupidity.

Posted by: eduardo | May 4, 2011 4:06:20 PM

Does anyone remember when Robert Parish played for the Hornets? He openly admitted during an interview that he smoked weed on the regular. I'd say he had a decent career, no?

I've always thought weed was no more or less dangerous than alcohol, and being a weed addict was no more or less damaging than being a drunk - both can be destructive when addicted. I think it should be legalized. Wonder why the politicians aren't excited about the possible hippie lettuce tax revenue?

As for Cunningham, hopefully he has learned his lesson and keeps his hemp-smoking to his living room couch while crushing Twinkies instead of out on the road. And I hope we re-sign him.

Posted by: J | May 4, 2011 4:25:11 PM

if the fab five knew they smoke weed at duke they would all have been blue devils

Posted by: joe cool | May 4, 2011 8:00:02 PM

Move on. The thirsty cops in PA were trying to make a name for themselves. Where are you with all the murders going on up there? MJ better re sign this kid. He is young and a very solid and talented player. He makes shots which the Bobcats needed bigtime. A small 1/8 of a joint. Should be a non issue. Lets move on

Posted by: EJ | May 5, 2011 1:26:05 AM

This is disappointing. The erratic driving and the pellet gun really make me wonder about him. He must be a dummy.

Some dumb celebrities use pellet guns to keep fans away from them. He's not famous or recognizable. And, if I remember, someone got sued after shooting a person with a pellet gun. Just dumb.

Posted by: long | May 5, 2011 9:47:35 AM

I came back to say that while he might not be a Mensa member, I do appreciate the way he stepped in to play at the end of the season. I saw some promise with him. There's still no logical reason to have a pellet gun in your car.

Posted by: long | May 5, 2011 12:29:15 PM

Weed has a bad rep - but sometimes guys who do weed also do other drugs that can be problems. I like this guy and think he can be a solid Bobcat for a long time. Dante - just keep it in your house and don't graduate to harder drugs! Weed can be a great drug for people who have issues with the spotlight and fame - just don't be like Eddie Van Halen and start drinking and coking so much it ruins your life.

Posted by: Dominator | May 5, 2011 12:30:46 PM

For what it's worth, this incident came as a surprise to Portland fans. Blazers are thoroughly vetted for possible "character issues" before signing, Cunningham included, and we heard no rumors regarding drug use or legal difficulties during his time on the team. His coaches have all extolled his discipline and great work ethic. Mind you, Dante IS a car guy who enjoys rebuilding classics in his garage, and may not always observe the speed limit, but that's speculation.

He graduated from Villanova, so there's no reason to question his intelligence, but a college degree doesn't prevent youthful errors in judgment. Our guess here in the Rose City is that the most dreaded consequence of this lapse for DC was hearing about it from his parents --both ex-chief master sergeants.

Posted by: occassia | May 6, 2011 2:56:34 AM

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