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Bavetta Retires, Cunningham Plans to Sue, and Saturday Grows Closer

Referee Dick Bavetta is retiring from the NBA, free-agent forward Dante Cunningham plans to file a civil lawsuit against his accuser, and only three days remain (hopefully) in the Summer of Love.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After 39 years of service, NBA referee Dick Bavetta is retiring according to Bavetta has refereed a record 2,635 straight games and leaves the league having never missed an assigned game, a truly remarkable accomplishment. My two favorite memories of Bavetta are:

1. When he raced Charles Barkley during the 2007 All-Star Saturday in Las Vegas (side note: Gerald Green of the Boston Celtics, and eventually of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and now of the Phoenix Suns, won the dunk contest on this night. I'm sure there's still Green fans loitering around these parts, and I must admit he's actually become a serviceable NBA wing; something I never imagined was possible during his short stint in Minnesota).

2. This past season at the Target Center Bavetta trotted over to the crowd sitting on the baseline next to the opposing teams bench during the game, I believe the Wolves were playing the Wes Johnson-Ryan Kelly-Swaggy P led Lakers, and urged the folks sitting in front of me to make some noise. I remember he said something to the degree of "it's really quiet in here, you need to get this place going." I also recall wanting to go home and write a blog post about how boring and unenthusiastic the fans had been all season to that point. There were numerous nights, often Wednesdays, where the lifeless crowd provided almost no home-court advantage. It only took Bavetta one night to see it.

Cunningham To Sue?

According to Jon Krawczynski, current free-agent Dante Cunningham, who has played back-up power forward in 161 games for the Wolves over the last two seasons, "plans to to file a civil lawsuit against the woman who accused him of domestic assault." You can read the full article here.

My only real thought on the whole situation is that everyone deserves due process. I attended plenty of games last season and heard the boos directed at Cunningham too, as he discussed in the article with Krawczynski. It's easy to overreact to news, but there's two sides to every story. I'm happy that DC can move on from this ugly situation and hopefully continue his NBA career, whether it's with the Wolves or not.

Selfishly speaking, I've been a fan of his gritty play over the last two years, so I wouldn't mind seeing him return on a cheaper 1-year contract. Obviously a lot is still up in the air with the team, but the results of this weekend should help clear up plenty of questions.

August 23rd (or 24th)

It's been speculated for weeks now that the Cavs-Wolves blockbuster trade surrounding Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins would become officially official on August 23 or 24, after the 30-day moratorium finally passes. If you've been hanging out in a cave and have absolutely no sense of the date, you should know that happens to be this weekend.

For Wolves and Cavaliers fans across the world, this weekend should bring conclusion and clarity to both franchises. In terms of the Wolves, a finalized deal should bring a better idea of what to expect with the rest of the roster, including the future of Dante Cunningham, as well as players like Glenn Robinson III, Alexey Shved, J.J. Barea, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Ultimately, if the deal is simply between the Wolves and Cavaliers, Anthony Bennett won't be able to be traded for 60 days, which makes it exceedingly more likely that Bennett is indeed a part of the immediate plans of Flip Saunders and the rest of the front office. Therefore, if the Love-Wiggins deal isn't a three-team swap the 76ers would have to move Thad Young to Wolves for other pieces, again, because Bennett won't be able to be traded along with other players for at least two months.

If the Wolves acquire Thad Young for say, J.J Barea, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Miami's first round pick they owe Cleveland, it would likely mean the end of Cunningham's stay in Minnesota. Robbie Hummel, Shabazz Muhammad, or even Gorgui Dieng would be a fine third string power forward, even if none of them are actually power forwards.

While we wait for that deal to become officially official, here's Wolves rookie Zach LaVine joining America in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:

And for the music crowd, here's a song by Frank Ocean. In the words of Ricky Rubio, me encanta, me encanta, me encanta.