Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders has been suspended a minimum of ten games for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, the NBA announced on Friday afternoon.
NBA has suspended #Bucks center Larry Sanders for a minimum of 10 games for violating the league’s anti-drug program.— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) January 16, 2015
There's a lot to chew on with this newest chapter of The Larry Sanders Saga, one that could prove to be the final in this novel. The suspension is set to begin Monday when the Bucks host the Raptors, but Sanders has not played since December 23rd with what was initially called an illness. Since then, speculation emerged about Sanders' desire to play basketball anymore, which culminated in a strange couple of minutes with the media on January 6th in which Sanders stated he was working things out with his health and that basketball was not possible without curing what ails him. Here's that interview:
Sanders hasn't been seen since, and did not travel with the Bucks to London this past week. Our London contributor James Plowright noticed this himself:
Let's just say you got the general feeling this week that people have grown tired of Sanders' issues and the team may be perfectly happy to move on without him.
Now the news today, which is Larry's second suspension for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. Here we should note that this qualifies as the fourth violation for Sanders overall, which the agreement lays out in detail here (jump to Page 379 for the breakdown of penalties). Sanders was suspended five games for violating the agreement at the end of last season, which the Bucks burned off by making him active the final five games of the year despite being ruled out due to his eye injury. A five-game suspension comes for a third violation. For any violation following, five games are added to the previous suspension.
But this suspension comes open-ended. A minimum of ten games. Andrew Gruman with the details again:
Larry Sanders' suspension begins Monday and will continue "until he is in full compliance with his treatment program"— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) January 16, 2015
With how staunch a proponent of marijuana legalization Sanders is, and this being his fourth violation of the policy, and his current health state... when does this end? When does anything with Larry Sanders end?
The Bucks' patience with Sanders has been wearing thin, and this may just about do it. We will see in the coming days what the team has in mind to deal with Sanders, even if that means eating a ton of cash.
More as this situation develops.
UPDATE (5:33p ET): Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders shed some more light on everything in a string of tweets...
If you have followed Sanders career, he has had some pretty serious issues... he hasn't always handled things the right way .— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 16, 2015
Larry has for some time had a pretty significant substance abuse problem, and a lot of that is tied to his own mental health.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 16, 2015
This past summer Larry sought treatment & felt like he'd turned the corner, however like most people with substance problems it was a crutch— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 16, 2015
Once the crutch was out of Larry's life he started having pretty serious swings and was battling some deep depression.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 16, 2015
Not surprising with the emotional/mental issues Larry was battling he fell off the wagon... probably easier than fixing whats really wrong— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 16, 2015
Here is hoping Larry finds some real help and come out of this without throwing away his career - he really is a good guy.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 16, 2015
A lot of stuff there we assumed over the last couple of weeks since Sanders' disappearance from the line up, but now a good basketball man confirming it. And, regardless of how the Bucks handle this, I think we can all agree with Kyler's last tweet.