Larry Sanders is officially a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Though his name was tossed around the rumor mill a few weeks back, the Cavaliers ultimately landed Andrew Bogut, who had been traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Philadelphia 76ers, then was bought out. But, 58 seconds into tenure with Cleveland, Bogut suffered a season-ending fracture in his leg. That left a gaping hole in the middle yet again—a void which Sanders, this time, will fill, per The Vertical’s Shams Charania:
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 have informed center Andrew Bogut – who agreed to a contract buyout with the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 27 but was injured in his first game with the Cavs – that he will be released when Sanders is signed, league sources said.
It’s always tough to call out these midseason signings will play out. They are typically inconsequential, but the Cavaliers have minutes to go around at the 5, particularly until Kevin Love gets back.
Sanders, though, hasn’t played in the NBA since December 2014, more than two years ago. His physical will determine whether he’s in game shape, but even if he is, you have to figure it’ll take some time for him to adjust to the speed and flow of the league.
In the event he his live-action legs back, the Cavaliers have themselves another potential steal—a rim-running big who can set hard screens and protect the paint during Tristan Thompson’s stays on the bench. That could end up being a big deal in the postseason. It could also end up not mattering. Whatever the result, the Cavaliers have made a low-risk, high-reward play, just like they always do this time of year.