Larry Sanders has played in just 27 games for the Bucks this season. First he missed time for personal reasons. Then came a 10-game suspension from the league for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there). Now that suspension has been extended past the 10 games (the team is again listing him out for “personal reasons”). All that comes after last season when a nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. Sanders has played just 50 games for the Bucks over two seasons since his four-year, $44 million deal kicked in.
The Bucks have had enough; they are moving on without him.
The Bucks have started talks to buyout the remaining two pus years of Sanders’ contract, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Buyout discussions have begun between the Milwaukee Bucks and Larry Sanders that would make the recently suspended big man a free agent, according to league sources…
He’s been one of the league’s most impactful defensive big men when he’s been on the floor, but the surprising Bucks — off to a 30-23 start under Kidd — have coped well without him this season, posting a 12-7 record in those games while relying on the likes of John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia and the recently signed Kenyon Martin.
The Bucks see a future where this core of players — with a few additions — could grow into a real threat in the East. Sanders was to be part of that core, their defensive anchor, but this season the Bucks’ defense has been 1.9 points per 100 possessions better when Sanders is off the court. For Milwaukee, he’s just not worth the disruptions.
Sanders has said he plans to continue his NBA career and tweeted this out last week.
While it’s common for a player seeking a buyout to take a discount to get out of his deal (for example, that’s what Amare Stoudemire will do for the Knicks) there is no motivation for Sanders or his agent to give the Bucks a price break. They will pay full price to make him go away.
Next summer, if he does show he’s not smoking anymore, some team will take a shot on him. However, it’s going to be for far, far less than the $11 million he was set to make this year.