Having been cut by the Milwaukee Bucks to make room for Marvin Williams, Dragan Bender is reportedly signing for Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare for an offseason where their roster is going to be desperately in need of an injection of youth, news has emerged that one of the team’s more recent young talents is set to embark on his next career steps.
Dragan Bender, who was waived by the Bucks just after the trade deadline when Marvin Williams became available after his buy-out, has reportedly signed a three-month contract with Israeli club Maccabi Tel-Aviv which also includes an option for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
The news was first reported by Moses Barda of Team Scout.
After leaving the Bucks at the end of February, Bender signed a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors before the season stoppage and the coronavirus pandemic cut his time short with one of the few NBA teams that weren’t involved in the Walt Disney World bubble.
Bender played just seven games with the Bucks and 91 minutes in total, but showed signs of promise in his brief cameo appearances during that time.
Given the position the Bucks found themselves in as a true title contender, more meaningful minutes were never really going to be on the table for Bender. But still just 22 years old, possessing an intriguing skill-set, and as a former fourth overall pick, Bender could certainly have stood as a worthwhile development prospect for a team with limited draft picks.
Similarly, Bender averaged 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game during his time with the Warriors.
All of that points to a player who could still have a bright NBA future, which explains the reported option in his deal with Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
From Bender’s perspective, he’ll hope that the opportunity to get some meaningful playing time with Maccabi Tel-Aviv can rejuvenate and help him in that regard, particularly given just how long so many NBA players will have gone without any opportunity to play in actual games.
Further adding to the possibility that this could be a very shrewd move on Bender’s part is the fact that he played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv before. Bender spent two years in Israel with Tel-Aviv immediately before he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns, and that familiarity may help him to hit the ground running this time around.
If Bender thrives in the months ahead, it would be no surprise to see plenty of NBA interest in his services before the new season begins. Who knows, perhaps a return to Milwaukee isn’t completely out of the realms of possibility either.