Reports: Cleveland Cavaliers reach deal with Larry Sanders

NBA.com Staff

The Cleveland Cavaliers have yet another solution to their depth problem in the frontcourt, this time choosing to add former Milwaukee Bucks big man Larry Sanders via a free-agent deal, as first reported by The Vertical.

Shams Charania of The Vertical has more on the move:

Larry Sanders has reached agreement on a contract with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, completing his return to the NBA, league sources told The Vertical.

Sanders and his agent, Joel Bell, traveled to Cleveland on Sunday, and Sanders will undergo a physical exam on Monday morning before signing the deal, league sources said. Sanders’ deal will cover the remainder of this season and likely include a guarantee trigger date for 2017-18, league sources said.

The Cavaliers must still decide whom to waive to create space for Sanders, league sources said.

Sanders, 28, has been out of the league since February 2015, when he accepted a contract buyout with the Milwaukee Bucks. He had multiple violations of the NBA’s anti-drug policy, went on a personal leave of absence, and then stepped away from basketball to focus on his personal life. Over the past year, however, Sanders began to focus on returning to the NBA.

Sanders ramped up his comeback effort in late January when he hired Bell and scheduled team visits. He had a seven-team workout in Miami in February and had meetings with the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Cavaliers, league sources said. NBA executives who attended the workouts told The Vertical that Sanders still had elite athleticism and speed and could become a contributor again when he gets into playing shape.

The Cavaliers started negotiations with Sanders after losing center Andrew Bogut on Monday because of a fractured leg. Cleveland also talked with free-agent forward Josh Smith, league sources said, but focused on completing a deal with Sanders.

Bogut agreed to a contract buyout with the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 27 and chose Cleveland over Boston and Houston. Bogut was expected to provide shot-blocking and rebounding before suffering the season-ending injury in his Cavs debut against Miami.

Chris Haynes of ESPN.com confirms The Vertical’s report as well:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have vetted center Larry Sanders and reached an agreement to sign the center, sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

He will fill the 15th roster spot on the Cavaliers roster that opened when Andrew Bogut suffered a broken leg.

Sanders and his agent, Joel Bell, are in Cleveland on Monday to take a physical. Upon completion of physical, the Cavaliers will waive Bogut, sources said.

Sanders is attempting a comeback after two years away from the NBA, and scouts who have watched him work out recently say his timing is off a little and his muscle mass is down from where it used to be. But they report he is still an athletic player whose talent is tempting, even considering his history of off-court issues.

Sanders’ addition would replace veteran center Andrew Bogut, who the Cavaliers signed after he was traded from Dallas to Philadelphia and then waived. Bogut lasted just 58 second in his Cavaliers’ debut before breaking his left tibia, ending his season.

The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Sanders, the 15th overall pick int he 2010 NBA Draft by the Bucks, was placed on the Bucks’ inactive roster in December of 2014 for personal reasons. He walked away from the game and was later treated for anxiety, depression and mood disorders.

But he announced on Jan. 26 that he planned to make his return to the game. In 233 games over five seasons with the Bucks Sanders averaged 6.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks