It’s looking more like Dragan Bender will be available to the Suns

Jun 14, 2016, 5:30 PM | Updated: Jun 15, 2016, 11:34 am




It’s looking more and more likely Croatian hybrid forward Dragan Bender will be available for the Phoenix Suns and their fourth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambodoro said he expects the 7-foot Bender to be on the board for the Suns after the Sixers, Lakers and Celtics make the first three selections.

“He will be there at four,” Gambodoro said Monday on the Burns and Gambo show. “Mark it down. He’s there at four if they want him.”

On Tuesday, Gambodoro added that he doesn’t expect Phoenix to take California swingman Jaylen Brown, who has already worked out for the Suns, or Providence point guard Kris Dunn at No. 4.

Brown’s stock has taken a hit following his offensive struggles toward the end of his college career for the Golden Bears.

Dunn is reportedly avoiding both the guard-heavy rosters of the Celtics and Suns because he desires immediately playing time. He is refusing to work out for a number of teams and is not opening his medical records to certain teams as his agents attempt to dictate where he lands.

But when it comes to Bender, the expectation he’ll remain in the green room by the time Phoenix is ready to make its decision is a recent development.

When the NBA Draft Lottery revealed the Suns would pick fourth, it appeared they were on the outside looking in at the chance of drafting a top-tier talent.

Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram were a lock to go first and second and remain so, but Bender lurked as the third-best prospect in the field heading into the NBA Draft Combine.

Weeks later, it’s looking more like the Suns could have a chance to draft Bender for two reasons: Marquese Chriss has leapfrogged from a borderline first-round choice into the top-5, and Kentucky sniper Jamal Murray has inched up the lottery thanks to strong workouts.

According to European reporter David Pick, the Suns will work out Bender this Saturday.

They have yet to get up-close looks at several other high-lottery options, and those workouts will dictate their ultimate decision, as will any moves ahead of them in the draft.

While it would surprise if the Sixers and Lakers would move out of the first two slots — or pick anyone other than Simmons and Ingram — the Celtics have reportedly considered moving the third pick.

But if they remain at No. 3, it looks less and less like they have an interest in picking Bender. Gambodoro isn’t the only one predicting the face-up forward will remain on the Suns’ board by the time they pick. Draft Express,, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated all have the Celtics taking a pass.

Then again, Boston’s tune could change after it works out Bender. That is scheduled for Tuesday, according to Pick.

Empire of the Suns

General view of action between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky during the second half of th...

Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns, Mercury partner with city to pursue future All-Star games

The Phoenix Suns and Mercury are working directly with the city of Phoenix and other parties in a pursuit of future All-Star games.

5 days ago

Nikola Jokic, Bam Adebayo...

Kevin Zimmerman

A guide to being compelled by the likely Nuggets-Heat NBA Finals

It can be factual that the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat will not draw as many viewers as would the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.

5 days ago

Chris Paul...

Kellan Olson

Suns face complex avenues for potentially moving on from Chris Paul

The Phoenix Suns know what they want to get done this offseason with what will be some type of roster makeover.

7 days ago

Tyronn Lue, Clippers...

Kevin Zimmerman

Empire of the Suns: Who we like as a new Phoenix head coach

The pros and cons of the Monty Williams hire and who would fit best around him as the next Phoenix Suns head coach.

14 days ago

Ty Lue, Suns, head coach, candidate, Clippers...

Kevin Zimmerman

Suns potential head-coaching candidates to replace Monty Williams

Ty Lue, Nick Nurse and Mike Budenholzer are on the list of head-coaching candidates to replace Monty Williams with the Phoenix Suns.

16 days ago

Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns in the first half of Game Three of the Western Conference First ...

Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns decide culture only matters so much by firing Monty Williams

There was justification beyond firing Monty Williams but that is not the story after the Phoenix Suns' decision.

15 days ago

It’s looking more like Dragan Bender will be available to the Suns