The Bucks placed a lot of faith in Larry Sanders by signing him to a four-year, $44 million contract extension this summer, even though his game hadn’t reached a level worthy of that deal just yet.
Not that the team had much of a choice — a developing big man will command those types of dollars from someone, and Milwaukee is a small, unattractive market where star players aren’t exactly clamoring to play when it’s time to choose a new team in free agency.
But Sanders has been anything but a franchise cornerstone this season, questioning his playing time under new head coach Larry Drew, and then getting into a fight in a bar where he sustained an injury that required surgery and sidelined him for almost two months.
Now that he’s back, things are far from harmonious, and things boiled over into an argument in the locker room with Gary Neal following Milwaukee’s loss in Phoenix on Saturday.
Milwaukee’s frustrations spilled into the postgame locker room, where teammates Gary Neal and Larry Sanders got into a shouting match with media present. At one point, Neal yelled, “I earn my money. Why don’t you try it?”
Confrontations like this almost never take place while the media is there watching, that’s what makes this particular tiff so noteworthy. Players may have disagreements at times, but usually it stays behind closed doors and is reported on second-hand.
To have this happen publicly shows how toxic things have become around Sanders and his large contract, at least where his teammates are concerned.