Suns declining fourth-year option on Bender

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The Phoenix Suns have decided to decline the fourth-year option on former fourth overall draft pick Dragan Bender, according to a report from ESPN.

“Of course I wish they picked up the option, but I am not going to let this stop me from reaching my goals,” Bender said. “I am 20, and I will keep working to be the best NBA player I can be and make it in this league whether it’s with Phoenix or another team.”

The Suns had until Wednesday to make a decision on the option on their 2016 lottery pick.

By declining, the Suns are freeing themselves of the $5.8 million salary that Bender would have been guaranteed in 2019-20, ESPN reported.

Bender is 7-foot-1 and appeared in all 82 games last season, averaging 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds. But he has appeared in just three games this season (through Monday), averaging less than a point in three minutes a night.