The Cavaliers decided not to make a stronger play for Dragan Bender because he would have required too much guaranteed money, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Bender signed a two-year, $3.5MM deal with the Bucks last month that includes a partial guarantee of about $600K. Cleveland was hesitant to give that much to a player who wouldn’t have been a sure thing to make the roster.
After being selected with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft, Bender put up three uninspiring years in Phoenix, including averages of 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 46 games last season. He was an unrestricted free agent because the Suns declined his fourth-year option in October.
Instead of giving money to Bender, the Cavs opted for former Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell, who will come to camp on a non-guaranteed minimum contract. With Cleveland less than $3MM away from the luxury tax line, guaranteeing money for a player like Bender would have been risky.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson would have been available for trades earlier this summer, Fedor adds in the same story. Both will be free agents next July, and moving their salaries ($18.5MM for Thompson and $13.4MM for Clarkson) could offer the chance for cap relief. With training camp about six weeks away, Fedor doesn’t expect the Cavaliers to move either player soon, but their names should resurface closer to the February deadline.
- Michael Beasley‘s agreement with the Pistons is expected to be non-guaranteed, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Beasley will battle Christian Wood, who was claimed off waivers last month, for the final roster spot. With the signing of Derrick Rose, Detroit has added the top two picks in the 2008 draft this summer.
- Better ball movement will be an emphasis for the Bulls this year, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The team ranked near the bottom of the league last season in assist ratio, effective field goal percentage and several other key offensive categories. Chicago is counting on several offseason additions, such as the signing of Thaddeus Young, to help improve in those areas.