If everything goes accordingly, Larry Sanders will return to the NBA in about two weeks.
What’s more, he could be returning to a team that is bound for the playoffs.
Sanders, the former Milwaukee Bucks’ starting center who shocked the basketball world by deciding to quit playing in 2015, recently auditioned for a half dozen teams over a two-day period in Miami.
The 6-foot-11 Sanders went through a series of drills and then conducted interviews for the NBA officials in attendance. Sanders openly discussed his past on-court and off-court issues as well as his desire to resume his pro career.
“It went very well,’’ said veteran agent Joel Bell, who represents Sanders. “They (NBA officials) had as much time as they wanted to work on certain drills with Larry or to talk to him.’’
Sanders, 28, was the 15th overall selection in the 2010 draft. Regarded as a project coming into the league, Sanders gradually honed his game to the point where he emerged as one of the elite rim protectors in the NBA. He averaged 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots for the 2012-2013 season, in addition to scoring 9.8 points a game.
That strong showing earned Sanders a four-year, $44 million contract from the Bucks. But after several missteps, and an open admission by Sanders that he wasn’t mentally into the game anymore, the Bucks and Sanders agreed to a buyout.
Using the league’s then “stretch provision’’, Sanders agreed to a seven-year deal that paid him $1.9 million annually through the 2021-2022 season.
Sanders will continue to collect that amount from the Bucks even if he now signs with a team. And Bell was confident that will happen sooner than later.
“A lot of teams have expressed interest in Larry,’’ Bell said. “We already have one offer on the table. We should have something done at some point, probably by the All-Star break.’’
The start of the All-Star break is the middle of next week. The All-Star Game will be played on Feb. 19 in New Orleans.
Bell wouldn’t disclose the six teams that attended Sanders’ workout in Miami or the team which has made the offer.
However, an NBA executive, whose team is a lock for the playoffs, confirmed his team had a representative at Sanders’ workout and felt Sanders acquitted himself well. That same source said two other playoff-bound teams, which he wouldn’t reveal, checked out Sanders in Miami.