Red Claws acquire former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, defeat Drive

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Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka, left, and Brooklyn Nets forward Anthony Bennett (13) battle for a rebound during in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP file photo)

Anthony Bennett, the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, is coming to Portland.

The Maine Red Claws acquired Bennett in a trade Thursday with the Northern Arizona Suns.

Both franchises are part of the NBA’s developmental G League.

So why is a 24-year-old former No. 1 draft pick playing in the G League?

The 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers after one year at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The Cavs’ selection of Bennett is often cited as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history.

Bennett played 52 games and averaged 4.2 points off the bench as a rookie before Cleveland dealt him to Minnesota in a trade to land Kevin Love. Bennett played for three NBA teams — Minnesota, Toronto and Brooklyn — in a span of three years before the Nets waived him in January.

In all, Bennett started just four games in the NBA, averaging 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 151 career games. He earned $16.5 million during four seasons in the league.

Former Cleveland vice president of basketball operations David Griffin admits that taking the Bennett as the No. 1 pick was a mistake.

In Jason Lloyd’s recent book, “The Blueprint,” Griffin did not mince words about Bennett.

“The issue with Anthony was, and we had no way of knowing it at the time, the kid had no desire to overcome adversity whatsoever,” Griffin told Lloyd. “As soon as it was hard, he was out. His whole life, he rolled out of bed bigger, better, and more talented than everybody else. As soon as it was hard, it was over. And I was the one on campus at UNLV. I’m the one who got sold the bill of goods and I bought it hook, line and sinker.”

By early this year, Bennett was playing basketball in Turkey. In September, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Phoenix Suns, who waived him a month later.

Bennett played 14 games with the Suns’ G League affiliate, Northern Arizona, averaging 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He is set to join the Red Claws pending the completion of a physical on Friday.

His first game with Maine could be at the Portland Expo at 1 p.m. Sunday when the Red Claws take on the Lakeland (Florida) Magic.

Red Claws top Drive

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — L.J. Peak poured in 24 points and the Maine Red Claws used a strong fourth quarter to beat the Grand Rapids Drive 97-90 on Thursday.

The Red Claws (11-10) trailed 70-65 entering the fourth quarter, but then finished the game by outscoring the Drive 32-20 in the final frame.

Leak’s three-point play gave Maine the lead for good at 85-82 in the fourth.

Trey Davis contributed 19 points and Daniel Dixon scored 15 for the Red Claws, while Devin Williams notched a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Andrew White (13 points) and Drew Barham (10) also scored in double figures for Maine.

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