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According to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports, “teams have their eyes” on the 22-year-old as a potential “early free-agent addition” for 2020-21. The Golden State Warriors also prefer to keep him, and Smith noted teams could “sign him now with some guaranteed money for ’20-’21.”
Bender’s age is notable and suggests he can still make significant strides if put in an ideal situation. After all, highly regarded draft prospect Obi Toppin is also 22 years old, underscoring Bender’s developing status.
Phoenix drafted him, and he averaged 5.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game over three seasons.
He has played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Warriors this season and signed multiple 10-day contracts with Golden State.
It is with the five-time defending Western Conference champions that Bender has shown the most promise, averaging 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in nine games while hitting a solid but unspectacular 32.4 percent of his three-pointers.
At his best, the 7-footer can serve as a matchup nightmare from the small forward spot with his ability to pull defenders to the outside, battle for boards and shoot over smaller opponents from mid-range.
His versatility makes him particularly valuable for teams like the Warriors who often take a small-ball approach to mixing and matching lineups, but a number of teams are apparently interested in him with an eye on next season.