The Cavaliers and Raptors are among the teams that have inquired on free agent power forward Dragan Bender, tweets international reporter Orazio Cauchi. According to Cauchi, EuroLeague clubs like CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce are also keeping an eye on Bender and have “some level of interest.”
Bender, 21, was the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and spent the last three seasons with the Suns. However, he has failed to develop into a regular rotation player, averaging 5.3 PPG and 3.8 RPG with a .394/.321/.647 shooting line in 171 games in Phoenix.
A source tells Cauchi (Twitter link) that there some NBA teams still believe Bender’s potential could be worth a roll of the dice. At this point though, the young big man seems unlikely to receive more than minimum-salary offers, and even then, it’s not clear he’d get any sort of guarantees.
If Bender had played out his rookie contract, he would have been on track to earn a $5.9MM salary in 2019/20. The Suns turned down their fourth-year team option though, allowing the Croatian to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.