The Milwaukee Bucks have been bad. The folks from Brew-town currently have the worst record in the NBA at 7-26, have multiple injuries, and have seen very little production from their core and key free-agent signings this season. In terms of strictly basketball, this team has been a wreck.
However, the Bucks’ dysfunction goes beyond just what’s happening on the floor. Center Larry Sanders, who Milwaukee signed to a four-year, $44 million extension this summer, missed nearly two months of the year due to a hand injury suffered during a bar fight. He was also vocally displeased with new head coach Larry Drew before the injury occurred.
Now that he’s back, though, the dysfunction hasn’t stopped. According to a report from Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, Sanders and Bucks guard Gary Neal got into a verbal altercation after the Bucks’ 116-100 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, all in front of the media. At one point in the disagreement, Neal shouted, “I earn my money. Why don’t you try it?” Tell us how you really feel, Gary.
Since returning, Sanders has been decent, but hasn’t shown near the growth that the Bucks expected from him offensively after signing him to an extension. In his five games back, he’s averaging only 9.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30.4 minutes per game while shooting 65.6 percent from the field, but shooting an abysmal 38.9 percent from the charity stripe.
While Sanders clearly possesses the raw tools and athleticism to be a successful big man in this league, his off-court behavior is getting to the point where it’s going to be hard for Milwaukee to tolerate him much longer. In terms of his talent, I still believe that Sanders will be successful. However, Milwaukee seems like the wrong situation for him, a situation that only adds to the potential for dysfunctional behavior. With the NBA Trade Deadline about a month and a half away, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sanders’ name surface in several rumors.