Larry Sanders is in a bad way these days. The 26-year-old big man has been bought out by the
after an extended absence due to injury, suspension, and a malaise so deep that it made him question whether he
play the game professionally anymore.
"We believe this decision is in the best interest of our team," Bucks general manager John Hammond said in an official team statement. "We wish Larry well and remain excited about the future of the Bucks organization.”
Bucks coach Jason Kidd said that "it's business. That's just the nature of this. It happens. We wish Larry the best with moving forward and hopefully everything works out.”
This circumstance isn’t exactly common — players don’t just walk away from contracts like the one Sanders earned by playing lights-out ball in the 2012-13 season, in which he was second in the league with 2.83 blocks per game. His four-year, $44 million deal and rising dominance had him projected to be a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
There are a lot of mysteries to Sanders’ fall from grace, and most likely it should remain that way — league insiders have suggested that he’s dealing with some heavy psycho-emotional trouble, and should seek rest and help above all. Basketball can wait.
Sanders will make about half of the money that was left on his deal, and it will be spread out in smaller doses over many more years.
He’s also eligible to sign with any team he chooses this season or next. Reports are that he’s taking an indefinite break from the sport, though, so don’t get your hopes up if the team you’re rooting for is short on big men.
Here’s to hoping that Sanders is on the up.
— John Wilmes