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Larry Sanders punched Mike Dunleavy while teammates in 2012-13

Jun 10, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers

The first year of Larry Sandersfour-year, $44  million contract extension with the Bucks went really, really horribly.

Who would have seen that coming?

Well, the Bucks probably should have.

Sanders nearly came to blows with Monta Ellis during the playoffs, which could have been chalked up to an isolated moment of frustration – except it wasn’t Sanders’ first such incident with a teammate.

Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times on Sports Radio 1250 (hat tip: KL Chouinard of Bucksketball):

It’s one thing to make comments behind closed doors about guys if you’re a player. But when you physically hit them, that’s quite another thing. And everybody knows about the Monta Ellis incident. Earlier that same season — which didn’t go reported until I found out last season, if that makes sense  – was that early in that season, he and Mike Dunleavy had a confrontation. Dunleavy was sitting in front of his stall. After a game, they were talking about sharing the ball blah blah, and Sanders walks over and says ‘hellooo.’ Clocks him.

In December, Woelfel wrote Sanders punched a teammate but didn’t specify it was Dunleavy. Apparently, Dunleavy – now with the Bulls – said a year ago he was on the receiving end of the punch, but nobody really reported on it.

Anyway, we know now, but the Bucks obviously knew then – and they still paid him all that money. What did they think would happen? The salary increase would make him more grounded?

Sanders is just 25, and there’s still time for him to mature. It would be foolish to write him off forever.

At his best, he’s an elite defender and shot-blocker who finishes well on the other end. Centers are always a commodity, especially ones with his potential.

But at some point, he must restrain himself if he’s ever going to meet that potential.

  1. pack93z - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    I thought Hammond possibly should get a year or two under different ownership (testing the meddling owner principle), but decisions like this to still pay Sanders after what seems a longer downward spiral is shaking my thinking. Truly hope this new ownership gets it right in Milwaukee.. great sports town and state if the team is even halfway competitive and ran with an attempt to win. The Bucks lately.. exude nothing of either of those principles… poorly run franchise.. period.

  2. timb12 - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    I thought Dunleavy was supposed to be pretty gangster? Either way, Sanders is an idiot. Even Demarcus Cousins didn’t pull this and he was the poster boy for immaturity the past couple of years.

  3. karlton3 - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Finally, a positive story about Sanders doing the right thing.

  4. bougin89 - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    We need Wiggins.

  5. duhwighthoward - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Who hasn’t punched Mike Dunleavy? I mean, c’mon. Imagine having to stand in line behind the guy for an hour at WalMart.

  6. ProBasketballPundit - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Boy I tell you, Mike Dunleavy getting punched in the face reminds me of the way a fine craft beer punches you in the face with flavor. #SprintCrossover

    • trevor123698 - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      beer is poison. you are a fool to drink it. Meanwhile red wine contains more ORAC points than any vegetable you could name. and tastes great unlike that swill you call a craft beer

  7. bigmeechy74 - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    “Sanders is just 25, and there’s still time for him to mature. It would be foolish to write him off forever.” I beg to differ. He is the biggest piece of crap in the league. He got cited TWICE for abusing puppies. What a scumbag coward

    • nolanwiffle - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Agreed. Since when is being 25 mean being a kid? He’s a bonehead.

      • khadeemw - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        Hes not a kid….but ue can be valuable whenever he handles his temper…n if I was playin with b jennings and Monta Ellis I would want to hit someone too

    • duhwighthoward - Jun 10, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      One of the finer pieces of prose I’ve read.

  8. haaaaasoooooo - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Dump him now while he still has a little value! I want him gone. Makes me wonder if Monte would have stayed. Is he worth one of the bulls picks? Or Phillys number 10? Or Denver’s?

    • sumkat - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      He’s not worth any of those picks

      The Sixers have no interest. They have a young big that has a great attitude, and is under his rookie contract. Why would they want Sanders?

      The Bull are looking to add another superstar. Picking up Sanders would make certain they can’t afford that. More likely that they give up on of their picks to somebody to eat Boozer’s contract and try to sign Melo (they could amnesty Boozer, but it would basically be putting a luxury tax on themselves, and their owner is notoriously against that)

      The Nuggets are an option, but I find it unlikely. I really don’t think Sanders current value would bring in the 11 pick for him (not in this draft). Plus I don’t see them doing it without taking back salary. On top of that, I don’t know how well Sanders would fit with Faried. There will be mulitple teams interested in that pick. For example, would Sanders for the #11 be a better deal for the Nuggets than Thad Young, and a couple 2nd round picks from Philly? (Young is also only 25)

      They can still move him if they want to get rid of him, but they aren’t going to get much of value back, certainly not a lottery pick in this draft. Unfortunately for the Bucks, their best bet may be to just hold on to him and hope he decides that he wants to be a professional basketball player, not just get the benefits of being a pro basketball player

  9. scoochpooch - Jun 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Does this really surprise anyone? After all, Dunleavy is a former Duke Blue Devil, known to recruit some of the biggest scumbags in basketball history, starting of course with Coach K. Good for Sanders, I’m sure many players would have loved to be in your position.

  10. irvfin3 - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    Send him to Dallas! Carlisle will whip him into shape! We need a defensive center alongside Dirk!

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