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Sanders bought out by Bucks, reportedly won't play again this season

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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Larry Sanders will apparently not be trying to get his career back on track this season.

On the same day it was reported the center and the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a buyout, comes word that Sanders has no plans to play again this season, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

Any bought out player can sign with another team before March 1 and be eligible for the postseason.

Sanders also remains suspended indefinitely until he's in full compliance with his treatment program. He was suspended for a minimum of 10 games on Jan. 16 for his fourth marijuana-related violation of the league's anti-drug policy, a habit Sanders is working to kick so he can continue his NBA career, according to the latest reports on his situation.

It's a disappointing end to Sanders' tenure in Milwaukee, which began with the team drafting him 15th overall in 2010. As Sanders exhibited potential as a defensive stopper and elite rim protector, the Bucks saw fit to give him a four-year, $44-million extension in 2013.

From there, Sanders ran into off-court issues and injury problems, playing in just 50 games over two years since the extension, which kicked in at the start of the season.

Sanders will reportedly receive $13 million in the buyout, a significant haircut on what's owed to him. Sanders would have stood to earn an estimated $3.9 million more for the remainder of this season, assuming he was cleared to play. He was owed $11 million in each of the next three seasons.

The Bucks will now waive Sanders after which he'll be free to sign with any team. Clearing waivers will also lessen the Bucks' obligation to him in salary cap terms, as they'll only be on the hook for the buyout. The Bucks can also use the Stretch Provision to spread out the remaining cap hit through 2022, making their annual dead money minimal.

This situation is hardly a positive for the franchise, but limiting the cap impact of Sanders' otherwise cumbersome extension is a positive outcome.

Should Sanders come into compliance with the league's anti-drug program, he could garner significant interest. His reputation on the defensive end, and the fact he's still only 26 years old, could make for a robust summer market.

In 121 games over the last three seasons, Sanders has averaged 8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 25.7 minutes, while shooting 49.8 percent from the floor.

In his breakout 2012-13 season, the Bucks were 5.9 points per 100 possessions better on the defensive end with Sanders on the floor, and opponents shot an anemic 41.5 and 46.1 percent at the rim with Sanders defending the last two seasons, respectively, which are elite numbers.

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