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#pounditTuesday, May 28, 2024

Former Suns lottery pick Dragan Bender nearing return overseas

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At just 21 years old, Dragan Bender appears to be on his way out of the NBA.

Nikos Varlas of reported on Wednesday that the former No. 4 overall pick Bender has verbally committed to play for CSKA Moscow next season. Varlas adds that Bender will proceed with that multiyear deal unless there is an intriguing NBA offer for him at the eleventh hour.

The seven-footer was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2016 but failed to meet expectations with averages of 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in his three seasons there. Bender is a native of Croatia and played professionally both in his home country and in Israel before making the leap to the NBA.

There was once a time when Bender was thought to have enough upside to be included in a potential trade package for Kyrie Irving, but times have clearly changed. The good news though is that Bender is still young enough that a return to the Association at some point is far from impossible.


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