It’s no secret that the Bucks were (and maybe still are) open to dealing troubled center Larry Sanders this offseason.
On the heels of signing a four-year extension last July, Sanders quickly became a distraction. Early in the season, he was involved in a nightclub brawl, which left him with a thumb injury that would require surgery. A month later, word of a locker room confrontation with Gary Neal surfaced. Then, while nursing another injury – this one happened on the court, no nightclubs involved – Sanders was suspended by the NBA for a positive marijuana test.
Not exactly the season Milwaukee expected from Sanders in the final year of his rookie deal.
Sanders rightfully earned the distinction of being one of the NBA’s best rim protectors after a breakout 2012-13 campaign. Despite the Bucks’ first round blowout at the hands of the eventual champions, re-signing the center to a deal that pays him $11 million per year was generally hailed as the right move.
Now, with the Bucks finally entering some semblance of a rebuild, Sanders has been the subject of trade talks, reports Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times.
In the days leading up to the draft in June, rumors circulated that the Bucks were seriously shopping beleaguered veteran center Larry Sanders.
A report recently surfaced the Bucks had offered Sanders to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a package deal that would have brought veteran center Brook Lopez to Milwaukee. Brooklyn reportedly rejected the offer.
I was told by an NBA official that the Bucks also had discussions with Indiana and were interested in acquiring veteran Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who hasn’t performed up to his lofty contract. Hibbert’s contract calls for him to earn $14.89 million next season. He then has a player-option the following season for $15.51M.
Again, the Bucks being open to dealing Sanders is not the news here. But the fact that they’ve (reportedly) engaged in serious talks with teams is.
In both of the scenarios noted above, the Bucks would essentially swap one questionable big man for another. Hibbert’s late-season struggles were well documented, and Lopez is coming off of his second major foot surgery in three years.
But, as Woelfel’s report indicates, the Bucks had discussions with both the Nets and Pacers – there’s no reason to believe the talks are ongoing, especially in the Brooklyn case.
That’s not to say Sanders won’t be dealt before next season. The Bucks will continue to gauge his value, but they don’t appear to be in any hurry to trade him for a sub-par offer.