Report: Suns willing to trade Dragan Bender as part of Kyrie Irving deal
Aug 4, 2017, 10:06 AM | Updated: 11:48 am
The longer this saga drags on, the more likely it appears that the Cleveland Cavaliers will eventually trade disgruntled star Kyrie Irving.
And while they are not necessarily on his preferred list of suitors, the Phoenix Suns appear to be in a good position to land the four-time All-Star.
Near as anyone could tell, if the Suns were willing to part with rookie Josh Jackson in a deal that also involved Eric Bledsoe and maybe a draft pick, Irving would be in Phoenix now.
They have been reluctant to part with Jackson, however, choosing instead to keep the fourth overall pick in the 2017 Draft as part of their young core.
However, it appears they may be willing to deal another one of their young players if it means landing Irving.
According to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minnesota, the Suns are offering Bledsoe and a draft pick, but instead of Jackson, are dangling second-year pro Dragan Bender.
As reported by NBCSports.com, Wolfson said:
The Phoenix Suns are the team to watch on Kyrie Irving. Now, they won’t offer Josh Jackson plus that Miami 2018 first and Eric Bledsoe. I’m told they’ll do Bledsoe. They’ll do the pick. Plus, Dragan Bender.
In a nutshell report of Suns willing to part with Bender, Bledsoe, Miami pick is not new. Suns won't part with Booker, Jackson, 1st in 2018
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) August 4, 2017
The fourth pick in the 2016 draft, Bender’s rookie season was uneven as he battled injury and inconsistency. The youngest player in last year’s draft, he averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 43 games, playing 13.3 minutes per contest.
In five games at this year’s Las Vegas Summer League, Bender averaged 14.2 points, 6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 31.4 minutes of action.
At 7-foot-1 and 225 pounds, he offers incredible potential, but of course there is no telling if the 19-year-old will ever reach the lofty expectations he entered the NBA with.