4:30pm: The move is official, the Magic’s public relations department announced via Twitter.
4:13pm: The Magic have waived Jared Cunningham, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). The team hasn’t publicly acknowledged the move, but it took place today, according to Robbins. The release was expected, with Magic-employed beat writer John Denton going so far as to write that Orlando would cut the former 24th overall pick who came via Thursday’s trade with the Cavaliers. The reason Cunningham lingered on the Magic roster for as long as he did is because they were waiting on Channing Frye, who went to Cleveland in the swap, to pass his physical. He did so earlier today, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Cunningham won his way onto the regular season roster for the Cavs with a strong preseason, averaging 12.4 points in 25.3 minutes per game, enough of a case for Cleveland to risk paying approximately $3.8MM in extra luxury tax penalties on top of their $947,276 obligation on his minimum salary. That risk became even more profound when the Cavs kept him past the date in January when his one-year contract became fully guaranteed. His tight bond with LeBron James surely didn’t hurt his case to stick around in Cleveland, but he averaged only 2.6 points in 8.9 minutes during the regular season, and the Cavs ultimately moved off his salary, and all the tax implications connected with it, on the final day possible, shipping him to the Magic.
The 24-year-old is still in line to make his full $981,348 salary, with the Magic on the hook for $947,276 of it and the league picking up the rest. That assumes he clears waivers, however. Every team except Orlando and Cleveland is eligible to claim him off waivers, as long as they have an open roster spot, and he seems like a decent candidate for a claim, given his first-round pedigree, relative youth and preseason performance.