Report: Ex-Suns 1st-Round Pick Dragan Bender to Sign Contract with CSKA Moscow

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2019

Phoenix Suns forward Dragan Bender (35) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 132-95.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Dragan Bender could be going back overseas to continue his basketball career after agreeing to a deal with CSKA Moscow. 

Per Varlas Nikos of EuroHoops.net, Bender is expected to sign a multiyear deal with the Russian team unless he receives "an interesting" offer from an NBA team. 

Bender spent the previous three seasons with the Phoenix Suns. The Bosnia and Herzegovina native was their No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. 

The Suns drafted Bender after a two-year stint in Israel, including one season with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015-16. He played sparingly as an 18-year-old, averaging 4.4 points in 38 games before going to the NBA. 

In three seasons with Phoenix, Bender only occasionally showed the promise that made him such a high draft pick. He shot 36.6 percent from three-point range and played all 82 games during the 2017-18 campaign. The team chose not to pick up his fourth-year option for 2019-20 last October. 

If Bender signs his deal with CSKA Moscow, he can re-establish some of the value he lost by playing for one of the best international teams in the world that just won the 2018-19 EuroLeague title in May. 

Bender is just 21 years old and can take advantage of a situation in Russia that will afford him more consistent playing time than he was getting in three seasons with the Suns. 

 

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