It’s Larry Sanders intentions to play for an NBA team yet this season.
It’s highly unlikely the team will be the Milwaukee Bucks.
Sanders, the former Bucks’ starting center who decided to walk away from the game in February of 2015, recently announced plans to resume his NBA career. Sanders’ agent, Joel Bell, said several teams have shown interest in his client but not the only NBA team he’s ever played for.
“I haven’t heard from the Bucks,’’ Bell said in a telephone interview.
Sanders, who is now 28, appeared to be one of the game’s up-and-coming centers after nearly compiling a double-double of 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds for the 2012-2013 season. The 6-foot-11 Sanders also emerged then as one of the NBA’s best rim protectors, averaging 2.8 blocked shots a game.
His productive play and potential prompted Bucks general manager John Hammond to give Sanders a fully-guaranteed four-year, $44 million contract. But after a series of off-the-court and on-court issues and playing just 27 games the following season, Sanders stunned the basketball world by quitting.
Sanders agreed to a financial settlement with the Bucks, who used the then “stretch provision’’ clause to pay him approximately $1.9 mllion annually through the 2021-2022 campaign.
Bell said Sanders, who lives in Los Angeles, has been diligently working out with a trainer in Florida and added Sanders’ decision to resume his basketball career wasn’t a rash one or motivated by money since he’ll continue to collect yearly payments from the Bucks regardless of whether he signs a new contract with another team.
“He’s been training for about six months now,’’ Bell said. “Physically, he’s almost there. Mentally and spiritually, he is there.
“He doesn’t need to come back; he wants to come back to the NBA. Sometimes you don’t miss something until you don’t have it.’’
Bell said interest in Sanders, whom the Bucks made the 15thoverall selection in the 2010 draft, has increased since he publicly disclosed his desire to play again.
“My phone has been ringing very frequently,’’ Bell said.
Two NBA officials contacted Thursday both said some team will likely sign Sanders to a pro-rated salary for somewhere around $300,000 for the rest of the season. Asked which teams could be potential landing spots for Sanders, the officials mentioned Dallas, Houston, Boston, New Orleans and Minnesota.
League sources said several teams have also contacted some Bucks employees in recent weeks, seeking additional information about Sanders.
Interested parties will have the opportunity to see Sanders up-close and personal next week in Miami. Bell said Sanders will be available for workouts and interviews with NBA officials.
“By the end of next week, we should have a reasonably good handle on where this is going,’’ Bell said.