Marc Stein: Both Dragan Bender (Milwaukee) and Ryan Broekhoff (Dallas) have cleared waivers to become unrestricted free agents, league sources say
Eric Nehm: 5 p.m. has passed. The Milwaukee Bucks have not waived Dragan Bender, which means his contract for this season is now fully guaranteed. Bender has been on a bit of a tear lately with the Herd, taking home G-League Player of the Week last week.
“Dragan is a talented young player who we’re excited to add to our team,” said General Manager Jon Horst. “At only 21 years old, Dragan will continue to develop his game by working with Coach Bud and his terrific staff.”
Matt Velazquez: Source confirms the Bucks are signing Dragan Bender to a two-year deal. This fills out the Bucks' 15-man NBA roster. Bender was the 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft and is just 21 years old.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent F Dragan Bender has agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, league source tells ESPN. Bender, 21, was the No. 4 overall pick to Phoenix in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Former No. 4 draft pick Dragan Bender has a verbal commitment for a multiyear deal with EuroLeague champions CSKA Moscow and will take it unless there’s an interesting NBA offer for him in the 11th hour, according to Eurohoops sources. Despite spending already three seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Bender is just 21 years old. So even if he returns to Europe, he still has time to attempt an NBA comeback in the future, being more mature and more ready.
Orazio Cauchi: As Dragan Bender continues to explore the NBA market, Cleveland and Toronto are among the teams that have inquired, I've been told, European market remains an option for the Croatian forward. CSKA Moscow and Fenerbache are looking at his situation with some level of interest.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Story filed to ESPN: Suns declining 4th-year option on former No. 4 overall pick Dragan Bender. He tells ESPN: "Of course I wish they picked up the option, but I am not going to let this stop me from reaching my goals. I am 20 and I will keep working to make it in this league..."
June 23, 2021 | 9:04 am EDT Update
While McMillan is the team’s “interim’’ head coach, sources made it abundantly clear Hawks management would love to remove the interim title. However, sources also said the 56-year-old McMillan has some reservations whether he wants to be the permanent head coach and may prefer some other role in the organization. Money won’t factor into McMillan’s decision as he is financially set, sources said.
The 24-year-old is just fearless, and it’s that kind of bravado that has everything to do with the Suns taking these two games without Chris Paul while he continues to go through COVID protocol. Beverley bothered him defensively, but Booker never backed down. I asked him afterward if their back-and-forth was good, old-fashioned playoff basketball, or if perhaps Beverley and the Clippers were going too far with the physicality. “That’s for you guys to decide,” he said. “They’re an aggressive team. That’s how they guard. All those guys, they’re athletic. Watching the previous series against Dallas and Utah, (they’re) switching everything and trying to turn teams over. But we’re figuring it out and we try to stay aggressive, stay with what we do and whether it’s basketball plays or not, we’ve got to move on to the next one.”
“CP has taken Cam Payne under his wing,” he said. “When you see Cam Payne coming into practice with Chris Paul, you’re wondering, you know — Chris Paul is usually the one here early and you see Cam Payne right behind him and you tend to ask questions, them two been together watching film, lifting weights together stuff like that. You could tell that Cam really took a different approach to a whole other level and he did it right in front of our eyes. Like I said, he was bound to have one of these games and he’s a guy who keeps it consistent. He plays hard both ends of the ball, and I just love his passion.”
“We want everybody to cherish this moment because we are built for this,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s why we are here. No matter the pressure, no matter what’s going on, we are built for this. We believe in who we are. No matter what happens, win or lose, we’ll stay together and we’re just going to go out there and compete.” Antetokounmpo delivered for the Bucks in the series finale against the Nets with 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. For the series, he averaged 28.8 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
Against Brooklyn, Antetokounmpo averaged 40.1 minutes per game, the most he has averaged in any series and by far the most he has averaged since Budenholzer became coach in 2018. Antetokounmpo played 50 of 53 minutes in Game 7. “I’ve prepared my body all year for moments like that, being able to play 40 minutes, 42, 45, 48, whatever it may be, 53,” he said. “(Budenholzer) knows the way I am. If I get tired I’m going to let him know. If I get tired and I need a 30-second break or a minute-break, usually we have a great way to communicate about that – that he can pull me out and put me right back.”
Two people who have played important roles behind the scenes for the Hawks are Larry Riley and Mike McNeive. Riley, once an assistant coach and scout for the Bucks, is a senior advisor to Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk. Before joining the Hawks, Riley played a major role in the enormous success of the Golden State Warriors as be drafted Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson while being the team’s general manager. McNeive, who worked as an advance scout and assistant coach for the Bucks during the George Karl regime, is the Hawks director of basketball operations.
June 23, 2021 | 5:32 am EDT Update
Sullivan is the author of “Can’t Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow,” which released on Tuesday. In a conversation with our friends from Celtics Wire on their podcast, Celtics Lab, Sullivan said that Nets ownership was unhappy with Irving over his midseason “pause,” and that Irving could be available for the right offer.
Matt Sullivan: “Let me give you guys a little news, I’m not sure that’s been out there. I’ve heard that Nets ownership was quite upset with Kyrie’s ‘pause,’ especially that maskless party that turned his psuedo-paternity leave into more like a COVID suspension. And in the last week I’ve heard rumblings – whispers, really, because cracking the Nets is kind of like breaking into the Kremlin, that Brooklyn GM Sean Marks would maybe, possibly, apparently be willing to at least listen to a trade offer for Kyrie this offseason. Now, I’m not sure what the market for Kyrie is at this point. It’s not like Ben Simmons giving you the headache on the court. It’s that complex personality that comes from off the court. I think it’s been annoying some people in the franchise. I can’t speak to his teammates, who obviously want to play with one of the world’s best and get him back there.”