Dante Cunningham's basketball exile is over.
The New Orleans Pelicans signed the former Villanova Wildcat to give them some much-needed depth at forward and said he would be available Thursday night on the road against Golden State.
"It's such a relief," Cunningham said. "I just knew that with the time and the situation that was going on, I kind of had to wait it out and get the right opportunity."
Cunningham was charged in April with felony domestic assault after his girlfriend at the time accused him of choking her and slamming her head against a wall. She also accused him of sending her threatening messages, but the charge was dropped in August, after an investigation uncovered inconsistencies in her story.
Cunningham was a free agent after his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves expired at the end of the season. But even after the charges were dropped, many teams were reluctant to sign him after the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal rocked the NFL.
Cunningham spent the previous two seasons with the Timberwolves, carving a niche as a valuable bench player who was reliable on both ends of the floor.
Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 37 points, including a layup with 10 seconds left after a timeout he didn't seem to want, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Knicks, 90-87, on Thursday night in New York for their season-high fifth straight victory.
LeBron James had five straight points late that helped Cleveland pull it out. James finished with 19 points and 12 assists.