The Milwaukee Bucks’ backcourt was purged of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in free agency, but it appears the centerpiece of their front court will remain intact for quite some time—Larry Sanders. The 24-year-old center agreed to a four-year deal worth $24 million, which will keep him in a Bucks uniform through the 2017-18 season.
Bucks General Manager John Hammond cites Sanders as an important piece for the franchise as they try to rebuild and remain competitive at the same time. Sanders became Milwaukee’s starting center in the 2012-13 season and finished with career highs in points and rebounds—9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, as well as 2.8 blocks per contest.
"By combining his God-given ability with hard work and determination, Larry has developed into one of the top defensive players in the league," said Hammond. "He is a very important part of what we are doing in Milwaukee, and we're excited to announce his contract extension."
The Bucks snuck into the playoff picture with a 38-44 record, but were bounced out of the first round of the playoffs swiftly by the eventual two-time champions the Miami Heat. Nonetheless, Sanders was one of the few bright spots, finishing third in the voting for the Most Improved Player award.
With Jennings and Ellis out of the picture, Sanders will not only have to continue his deft defensive skills, but also contribute offensively. Still, he gives the Bucks a defensive identity that will hopefully permeate to the rest of the team and result in more wins in the 2013-14 season.