If you want to know what ultimately did in Ryan McDonough as the Suns’ general manager, go back to the draft of 2016.
At No. 8, the Sacramento Kings took Marquise Chriss for the Suns in a trade that sent the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Kings — Bogdanovic made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team last season with 11.8 points per game while shooting 39.2 percent from three. (Georgios Papagiannis also went to Sacramento in that deal.) Chriss never panned out and was sent to Houston along with Brandon Knight for the aging Ryan Anderson last summer. The Rockets are not expected to pick up next year’s rookie contract option on Chriss. Phoenix struck out there.
At No. 4, McDonough and the Suns to Dragan Bender.
Tuesday it was announced the team will not pick up the option on his fourth season, still on his rookie contract. From Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Suns will decline Bender’s option, freeing themselves of the $5.8 million salary that he would have been guaranteed in 2019-20, league sources said….
“Of course, I wished they picked up my option but I’m not going to let this stop me from reaching my goals,” Bender told ESPN in a text message.
The Suns’ new management is trying to move on from the mistakes of the past. As they should.
Last season the Suns tried to make it work with Bender, playing him in all 82 games and 25 minutes a night, but he was passive on offense and scored 6.5 points per game, with a PER of 7.1 (the kind of number that suggests a G-League player).
Bender (and Chriss) will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. The rest of this season he has to impress some team enough to take a flier on him (that may require some Summer League run, where Bender has not impressed in the past