Suns news: Dragan Bender has a deal in Russia
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Dragan Bender has a deal in Russia

Dragan Bender

Former lottery pick Dragan Bender has reportedly agreed to a multi-year league to play in EuroLeague, according to a report from Nikos Varlas of

“Former No. 4 draft pick Dragan Bender has a verbal commitment for a multiyear deal with EuroLeague champions CSKA Moscow and will take it unless there’s an interesting NBA offer for him in the 11th hour, according to Eurohoops sources.”

Bender, the fourth overall pick in 2016, spent three seasons with the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, the Croatian forward was unable to live up to the expectations, as he only averaged 5.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 20.3 minutes per game during that span.

The Suns decided not to pick the fourth year of his rookie contract.

There were rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors had interest in signing Bender, but neither of those teams pursued him in free agency.

If Bender won’t be able to secure an NBA deal within the next couple of days, then he might just decide to make his commitment with CSKA Moscow official. He’s still just 21, so playing in the EuroLeague will help him hone his skills even more. Should he improve over the next couple of years, that will surely be noticed by NBA scouts and he could be back in the league in no time.

Bender’s arrival in the NBA might have been too soon, but it’s not too late for him to rejuvenate his career. Whatever his decision may be, hopefully he makes the most out of his next stint.