A lot of fans may not have seen it because it was happening in Milwaukee, but Larry Sanders has become one of the best shot blocking bigs in the NBA (2.8 per game last season, second in the NBA). On a team where the perimeter defenders played like matadors much of the time, his value really shone through. Plus, he averaged 9.8 points a game (shooting better than 50 percent) and 9.5 rebounds a game.
The Bucks are rebuilding, but Sanders (entering his fourth NBA season) is the kind of guy you use to help build around.
Which is why the Bucks are close to an extension with Sanders to follow up his rookie contract, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
In the wake of the recent departures of guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Sanders has emerged as Milwaukee’s most recognizable player. He was a recent invitee to USA Basketball’s minicamp in Las Vegas for the game’s top 25-and-under players, only to be derailed halfway through by an ankle sprain.
Although contract figures were not immediately known, sources say Sanders is expected to receive an extension with an annual salary in excess of $10 million.
Smart move by the Bucks, Sanders is a keeper.
Milwaukee will spend this season finding out of Brandon Knight really can be its point guard of the future, plus the team has O.J. Mayo to do some scoring and some solid role players such as Gary Neal and Carlos Delfino.
But the question is who is around in a couple of years as the Bucks rebuild — Sanders is a guy they want to keep around.
John Wall has already signed a $80 million extension to his rookie deal, the only guy in this draft class to do so at this point. Others from this year are in talks for an extension, including DeMarcus Cousins.