Larry Sanders to ‘look into coming back’ to NBA

Shams Charania
Larry Sanders accepted a buyout from the Bucks in February 2015. (Getty Images)
Larry Sanders accepted a buyout from the Bucks in February 2015. (Getty Images)

After accepting a buyout from the Milwaukee Bucks to step away from the NBA last season, Larry Sanders told The Vertical he plans to pursue a return to the NBA once his off-court ventures stabilize.

"Once my art, music and passions off the court feel stable, I will look into coming back," Sanders told The Vertical. "I still love basketball. I want stability around me, and part of my mindset to leave was not to put all my eggs in one basket.

“I feel highly valuable on any team. There aren't a lot of people who can bring my game to a team. I still play basketball all the time, staying in shape. I will need to make sure the situation is right for me.”

Sanders, an athletic shot-blocker at 6-foot-11, became one of the league’s most promising centers during five seasons with the Bucks. He had a career year in 2012-13, averaging 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 71 games, which culminated in his participation with USA Basketball and a $44 million extension.

Sanders receives $1.86 million per year until 2022 through his buyout with the Bucks via the stretch provision. Any future contract Sanders signs would be unaffected.

Sanders’ personal life unraveled from 2013-15, beginning with a Milwaukee bar fight in November 2013 in which he was cited by police but did not face criminal charges. He then was suspended twice for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program and went on a personal leave of absence, which led to the buyout in February 2015. Sanders admitted at the time he needed to work on himself as he exited the league.

People close to Sanders have discussed his seriousness to return to the NBA sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, Sanders would need to continue cleansing his lifestyle and show teams a renewed focus on the game. For now, Sanders says there is no timetable toward a return. He now resides in Los Angeles where he releases music, including a recent single called “Black Mercedes.”

Sanders said once his management company for artists, designers and photographers becomes more established, “coming back to the game will be easier.”

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