Two years ago, Larry Sanders looked like a potential future core piece in Milwaukee, a defensive and rebounding force in the paint (that got him a four-year, $44 million extension).
Last season was about as bad as it could get for Sanders: When he played he took a step back on the court, but he played in only 23 games missing most of that time after hand surgery needed because he shredded a ligament during a bar fight. He fought with teammates. He got cited by police for leaving his dogs out in the cold. He was suspended five games by the NBA for violating the league’s drug policy on marijuana use (which you have to test positive for three different times to earn a suspension). Oh, and there were the games missed for a broken eye socket (but that happened during a game).
It has a lot of people wondering if the Bucks planned to keep Sanders around or dump him the first chance they got. There have been enough trade rumors out there to make it clear the Bucks are at least listened to offers.
However, Bucks assistant general manager David Morway told HoopsHype’s David Alarcon nope, they still see Sanders as part of the future in Milwaukee.
“Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Larry is in our future plans. We are hopeful that this year Larry gets back to being the basketball player that he was two years ago. He is a defensive presence and a game changer on the court. So when you have his length along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, John Henson and then Zaza Pachulia, Damien Inglis, who is very long, and if you play Khris Middleton at the two… We are a fairly long team. We’ve got good experience with OJ Mayo, Jerryd Bayless… And we like Kendall Marshall. So we are excited for next year.”
What else is he going to say? Even if the Bucks plan to dump Sanders for the first warm body offered, you don’t say that lest you get lowballed. You say you love your young players right up to the moment you trade them away.
That said, moving a guy who had all those issues and whose $44 million deal kicks in this year will not be easy. They are not likely to get great value back.
The Bucks have the pieces where you can start to see a young core coming together — Henson, Parker and Antetokounmpo for sure up front. The Sanders of two years ago would fit in great with that group. It would be the smart play from the Bucks to see if Sanders can fit in with them on the court, find his old groove, and put the bong down for a season.
Of course, if he does all that the trade offers that come in will be legitimate, and the Bucks will have a different question to answer.