After last season, the Milwaukee Bucks and Larry Sanders agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract extension. Despite efforts to contend in the Eastern Conference by acquiring players such as Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick, it is clear the the Bucks are now heading into a rebuilding stage. Ellis and Redick are gone, and point guard Brandon Jennings is now a part of the Detroit Pistons.
In a recent interview with the Boston Globe, Bucks GM John Hammond discussed what he viewed as a huge part of the rebuild for Milwaukee.
“(Sanders is) one of the key, if not the key, piece for us moving forward. Larry is one of the top shot-blockers in our business. And I think he’s only going to get better defensively. We’re really excited to have him part of our organization, moving forward long term…”
Sanders also talked about the contract extension and the future of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“This organization has put so much faith and trust in me, and I put that on myself also. Since I got there the organization has done nothing but push me and help me in that direction. We’ve been working in this direction for a long time.”
There is no question that Sanders is one of the best up-and-coming rim protectors in a league that so desperately craves them. However, a former Bucks’ assistant said that the shot-blocker didn’t give it his all on a nightly basis. Asking him to take more of a leadership role could be a smart thing, or it could be detrimental to the rest of the team. Regardless, it seems as though Sanders is a little more mature and ready to handle the responsibility that comes with being a franchise centerpiece.