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There have been various reports stating that the rumored trade that would send Grizzlies’ F Dante Cunningham north to Minnesota for SG Wayne Ellington is on hold, has been submitted to the league office, or is still waiting on a third team to get involved.

I’ll be honest — I don’t know what is happening or what will happen, although I believe that the trade is likely to take place. Granted, I don’t know that it is necessary with Jerryd Bayless under contract and Josh Selby lighting it up from outside in his first two Summer League games, but DC is a man destined to be buried deep on the bench as the 5th big man right now.

So, what about the former Tar Heel?

This is Wayne Ellington.

This is Wayne Ellington and girlfriend Amanda Altschuler.

Yeah…I’m sold on this trade. How about y’all?

Oh, you wanted some actual analysis? From us? Ok, ok.

Ellington is a shooting guard by reputation. In college, he was one of the most efficient scorers in the nation. Since being drafted by the Timberwolves, his numbers have been pretty consistent. He averages around 6.0 – 6.5 points per contest, grabs a couple of boards, dishes out the rare assist to go with the occasional turnover, rarely goes to the free throw line, and hits about 40% of his shots in just under 20 minutes per game.

Consistency is usually a good thing. However, when a player fails to develop at all — and in fact, falters in some important categories like 3PT% and FT% — then it is something else entirely.

Is this a good trade? Is this a necessary trade? Frankly, if Ellington was a better shooter or had better size and athleticism, then I’d like it a lot more than I currently do. I understand that Cunningham isn’t seen as a necessity, and that shooting is needed after a lack of it sank the Grizzlies the last two postseasons. However, I don’t know that you necessarily have to make this deal right now.

Dante was a quality backup all of last season. That’s not to overstate his value, but just to remind fans that he’s not mere bench fodder. He’s just the victim of too much talent on one team at the same position he plays. With a healthy Zach Randolph, Darrell Arthur, and Marreese Speights on the roster, there is simply no place for him.

Also, with the departure of O.J. Mayo to Dallas, the Grizzlies only have one real SG on the team — Tony Allen. And for all of his grit and grind, TA isn’t a perimeter threat. Jerryd Bayless is, but he’s a combo guard who will likely see a lot of time as a ballhandler off the bench. Selby is looking more and more like the kind of scorer who will force the coaching staff to find minutes for him this season — but his lack of size makes it difficult to allow him to defend most SGs he’d face. Tony Wroten has the size, but is a rookie who will likely be overwhelmed by the opponents he faces — and the lack of calls from the refs. Because of that, trading for a SG makes sense — and Cunningham is the lone “extra” with any value, since Jeremy Pargo has no trade value whatsoever, other than for a future 2nd round pick perhaps.

Could Chris Wallace and the front office get more for DC than just a player of Ellington’s caliber? Maybe — if he’s willing to wait it out and make a deal later in the year. But, without being able to give Dante playing time, his value will only drop, which is why exploring a trade now is the smartest move. Also, Ellington has an attractive contract, only making $2 million this season with a team option/qualifying offer of $3 million next year.

The biggest concern is the notion that Cunningham is a better, more valuable player overall. If that’s the case — and Ellington is nothing more than an end-of-the-bench fixture — then keeping DC makes a ton of sense. If they actually expect Ellington to be more of a factor, then bring him on. Hopefully, he’s still dating Altschuler, and she’ll come to a few games this season.

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14 Responses to Cunningham for Ellington Trade Nearing Completion?

  1. stevedNo Gravatar says:

    Completely agree. If you are going to trade Cunningham (under-rated player) for a shooter, at least get a half decent shooter. Ellington is not. Fortunately, Bayless is so no worries.

  2. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    If Dante is on his way out, I would like to thank him for his year on the Grizz, He was always a Spark off the bench and I really enjoyed his play. I hope he does well in Minn with the likes of Rubio and Love, and I hope he gets playing time, he deserves more playing time if you ask me.

    • EvanNo Gravatar says:

      Agreed. Loved his energy and tenacity on the boards. Really hate to see him go but wish him the best.

      I guess there’s probably no way we could package DC and Pargo to get someone better?

  3. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    I’d like to see the Pargo situation resolved before we do anything with Cunningham. With JP’s $1MM off the books, the Griz might be able to do more than get Ellington.

    FWIW, Hollinger’s analysis says the trade will result in -3 wins for the Griz over 82 games.

    Still, I would wish Cunningham well in his future. Dude is a complete professional and a great fit for the Grit-n-Grind culture.

  4. j falkNo Gravatar says:

    His girlfriend is too sexy

  5. KyleNo Gravatar says:

    A DC, JP package for a shooter would be cool, but I like this move as well, maybe with more Playing time, Ellington will get consistently better, and I love DC , but he is on the wrong end of a deep 4/5 position

  6. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    What a great looking pair! (And I’m not referring to Ellington)
    With a gf like that this dude won’t be able to concentrate. Just check out what happened to that Marco Jaric guy who married that supermodel. The guy had no energy left on the court. You could tell his concentration was focused on something else.
    I have to agree with Chris. Selby is showing much promise and is hitting like 80% of his threes. Plus, I think Dante is a better player.
    That rack is ridiculous! (I mean that in a good way)

  7. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    If you don’t mean that in a good way you should be put down, lol.

    The way Selby’s been playing, he could end up being our very own Jason Terry! Also, Pargo is making a strong case for why he should make the team. He’s showing some good point guard skills.

    I think Pargo, Mitchell Watt, and Haddadi will end up being our key reserves…

    • StevedNo Gravatar says:

      What is your depth chart for the team?

      • J FalkNo Gravatar says:


        Selby and Wroten will switch up between playing 1 and 2. If one of the centers goes down we got Haddadi. If one of the pf’s go down we got Watt and if any of the others go down we got Pargo…I like it.

        • SteveNo Gravatar says:

          Ah right, you meant back-ups to the bench, players 13-15. Makes more sense.


          Not sure who the other 2 positions should be, Hamed would be nice at minimum. Pargo is the 13th man as Selby can cover 3rd PG.

          • j falkNo Gravatar says:

            No, I meant reserves…you should know exactly what I’m talking about when putting Watt, Haddadi, and Pargo in the same sentence…

            Also, Cunningham for Ellington is going to happen any minute so I don’t know why you didn’t recognize that in your depth chart.

  8. J FalkNo Gravatar says:

    Also, if Ellington goes back to shooting how he did his first two seasons he could be by far the best shooter on this team. I have faith he can do that for this team.

  9. Grizzfan85No Gravatar says:

    If this trade goes through, I will be fine with it. Honestly though, I think Wallace has a man crush on Janning and I think he has a legit shot at making the team regardless of how he plays in Summer League. Best case scenario, we trade Cunningham and Pargo for a legit backup center then sign Janning and Billy Walker. Worst case scenario, we make this trade and Ellington plays like doo doo. I am sure Wallace is trying to pawn off Pargo on anyone he can with that one highlight from the summer league game.

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