Larry Sanders revealed in a self-authored piece on The Players’ Tribune that he recently checked himself into a hospital where he took part in a program for anxiety, depression and mood disorders, and he used “if” and not “when” in reference to a return to basketball. The former Bucks center is a free agent after clearing waivers Monday from a buyout deal with Milwaukee.
“I love basketball, and if I get to a point where I feel I’m capable of playing basketball again, I will,” Sanders wrote. “I’ve had to make the difficult decision to follow my intuition, and allow myself the space and time to explore my true purpose in life.”
In January, Sanders denied a report from Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times that he was thinking about retirement amid an absence that began following his last appearance in a game on December 23rd. The center indicated in the video portion of his Players’ Tribune piece that the Bucks organization wasn’t the impetus behind his desire to depart. The 26-year-old reportedly has no intention to sign with an NBA team this season, though the Mavericks and Clippers were among the teams with at least some level of interest in signing him.
The center signed a four-year, $44MM rookie scale extension with the Bucks in 2013, but it didn’t kick in until this season. He forfeited all but $22,064,705 of it in the buyout deal, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Sanders downplayed the importance of money in his essay and suggested in the video that he has numerous priorities other than basketball.
“I’m a person, I’m a father, I’m an artist, I’m a writer, I’m a painter, I’m a musician, and sometimes I play basketball,” Sanders said.
Once a standout defender, Sanders has encountered a multitude of problems since he signed the extension. He broke his hand in a nightclub fight early last season, and the league has twice given him drug-related suspensions. The latest stretched over 12 games and cost him $1.2MM.