MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Bucks have rewarded center Larry Sanders for his breakout season with a contract extension.
General manager John Hammond announced the deal Tuesday in a statement. According to media reports, the extension is for four years and $44 million and starts with the 2014-15 season.
Sanders, 24, will make $3 million this season.
The 6-foot-11 Sanders had career-high averages of 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds last season. His 2.8 blocks per game ranked second in the league, and he had a stretch of 40 straight games with a block.
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“By combining his God-given ability with hard work and determination, Larry has developed into one of the top defensive players in the league,” Hammond said. “He is a very important part of what we are doing in Milwaukee, and we’re excited to announce his contract extension.”
Sanders, who played college ball at Virginia Commonwealth, led the Bucks with 26 double-doubles last season.
Sanders, the 15th player drafted in 2010, is considered part of the core for the retooling Bucks, who traded Brandon Jennings (17.5 points per game) to the Detroit Pistons last month for point guard Brandon Knight (13.1 points).
Other offseason moves by the Bucks included acquiring free-agent guards O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal, and drafting 18-year-old Greek phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round.
The Bucks finished 38-44 last season before being swept in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Miami Heat. Ex-Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew is the new coach in Milwaukee.
Top pick signs
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Anthony Bennett, the first player taken in this year’s draft, to his guaranteed rookie contract.
Terms were not immediately known, but the deal can be worth up to $22.8 million over four years.
Bennett was a somewhat surprising selection by Cavaliers officials, who have said they believe the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder from UNLV can play power forward.
He is recovering from shoulder surgery, but the Toronto native is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
Bennett averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a freshman with the Runnin’ Rebels.
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