Bucks lock up Larry Sanders with a four-year extension

Sanders hurt his ankle during Team USA Mini-camp on Tuesday. (USATSI)
Larry Sanders is getting some money from the Bucks. (Larry Sanders' Instagram)
Make it official: The Bucks have signed Larry Sanders to a four-year extension. 

The agreement with Sanders is reportedly worth $44 million. According to reports, the deal includes bonuses that could push the deal to close to $48 million. 

"By combining his God-given ability with hard work and determination, Larry has developed into one of the top young defensive players in the league," Bucks general manager John Hammond said in a release. "He is a very important part of what we are doing in Milwaukee, and we’re excited to announce his contract extension."

The extension begins for the 2013-14 season, so Sanders will play next season at $3 million. 

With the above photo posted to his Instagram, Sanders included the message, "It's official..can't believe I've been granted this opportunity to represent Milwaukee for the next 5 years and hopefully the rest of my career. Words can not explain my gratitude for the @bucks organization and the faith in me as a leader and a worker..I won't let you down Mil-town..see you in the BC!!! #letsgobucks #bucknation #buck4life."

Sanders, 24, has evolved into one of the league's premier interior defenders, both as a shot-blocker and pick-and-roll defender. Last season, his third, was the best yet as he averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, which finished second in the league to Serge Ibaka. 

As for Sanders' deal, Ibaka's extension last summer is a good comparison to start with. Ibaka signed for four years, $49 million, and is a little more rounded out as an offensive player, but not quite as effective on the glass. Both are tremendous shot blockers, so in terms of market value, it seems in the ballpark. 

The Bucks are working on an almost entirely remade roster as they've moved on from Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, and are now rebuilding around Sanders as their interior anchor, with Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo in the backcourt. Sanders is a versatile big that can play both power forward and center, and with the Bucks' interior depth -- they have Ekpe Udoh, Zaza Pachulia, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova and a few others -- he can bounce around and mix and match with other players for new coach Larry Drew. 

Sanders is still developing so at 24 years old, he could continue to grow into an even better defender and a more effective offensive player. He's an obvious building block for the Bucks to center their future around and getting him locked up now to an extension and avoiding restricted free agency where he might've found a big offer sheet, is certainly wise. 

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