Bucks center Larry Sanders has missed the last six games due to — at first – the flu, but now “personal reasons,” according to head coach Jason Kidd. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times revealed today on Twitter that Sanders might not want to play basketball anymore, even though he’s in the first year of a four-year, $44 million contract.
Here’s the tweet that’s the doozy:
But there’s more. It seems friends of Sanders told Woelfel this summer they were concerned he was no longer committed to the game and wanted to explore other options, presumably away from the hardwood:
Which is why his current six-game absence could be a sign of something else. At first, Kidd and the team said Sanders had the “flu,” but now they’re claiming Sanders is inactive for “personal reasons,” like, say, not wanting to play basketball anymore.
Last summer, the Bucks tried to trade Sanders along with point guard Brandon Knight to the Pacers for Roy Hibbert.
But now, even though the Bucks are still shopping their big man, an NBA official tells Woelfel it’s going to be difficult to unload the unhappy center:
The craziest part about the whole story is that Sanders is in the first year of his four-year, $44 million deal. True, last season fell apart with reports of a nightclub incident led to missed time, and he was suspended for five games after testing positive for cannabis before saying publicly he believes in the salubrious effects of the plant. In truth, 2014 was really tough for Sanders, but we all thought he’d rebound this season.
Averages of 7.3 points, 3.7 rebounds in 21.7 minutes are down from his embattled 2013-14 campaign, but he already has double (1.2) the number of defensive win shares in comparison to last season, so it’s not like he’s been totally ineffective. Still, this news only strengthens the notion he might not get over what’s been bothering him and again become a regular contributor on the floor while disregarding the notion by Woelfel that he doesn’t want to play basketball anymore.
We’ve always loved Sanders. Whether he was giving a thumbs up to every ref after getting tossed, or explaining to CBS Sports his defensive acumen, we always thought he was more erudite and nuanced an individual than the headlines might at first indicate.
Best of luck to him as he tries to figure out what works for him moving forward. If he’s legitimately unhappy on the court, then he should quit. But forfeiting the remainder of that $44 million deal might come back to bite him later in life. Many people would kill for the chance to be in Sanders’ size 18 sneakers, so it’s hard to empathize. That being said, whatever makes him happy, his fans should support; we just hope that also means we get to watch him play defense.
What do you think?
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