The Milwaukee Bucks have put Larry Sanders their rear view mirror, but his contract isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Just over two weeks ago, the Bucks and the beleaguered veteran center agreed to a buyout on his guaranteed, four-year, $44 million contract.
Since then, there have been various reports about the terms and conditions of the agreement, especially in regard to how the Bucks will pay the 26-year-old Sanders.
In recent days, league sources claim the Bucks will use every year they are allotted under the NBA's “stretch provision.'' And that means the Bucks will pay Sanders in annual increments of approximately $1.9 million over a seven-year period. That amount will be applied to the Bucks’ salary cap each season through the 2021-2022 season.
The stretch provision allows teams to make their payments for twice the number of years remaining on a contract, plus an additional year. Sanders has three years remaining on his contract.
Sanders, who was twice suspended by the NBA for drug infractions – last season for five games and 10 games this season – will thus collect about $22 million – or half of his original $44 million deal.
That’s not shabby considering Sanders played a mere 27 games this season and won't play for them at all the next three seasons.
Prior to reaching a buyout agreement, I was told by individuals who know Sanders and who work for the Bucks that he had no desire to continue playing basketball. I’m told that is still the case.
Bucks general manager John Hammond and Bucks owner Herb Kohl made the egregious decision to give Sanders a contract extension in August of 2013.
It immediately brought wide-spread disbelief around the NBA, especially considering Sanders had only one quality season with the Bucks, had several run-ins with teammates and still had another season remaining on his contract before he became a restricted free agent.
The Bucks’ decision to make Sanders a cornerstone of their franchise became even more suspect when, shortly into the 2013-2014 season, he was involved in a nasty downtown Milwaukee bar fight that resulted in him hurting his right hand. Sanders wound up playing only 23 games that season.
Officials from numerous NBA teams have told me they don’t have any intention of trying to sign Sanders, whom the Bucks selected with the 15th overall selection in the 2010 draft. What’s more, some NBA officials and Sanders’ acquaintances are convinced he’ll never play again in the NBA.