Why Larry Sanders Was Cut And Why He Could Return

The Cleveland Cavaliers cut Larry Sanders for missing the bus. He could be back next season though.

According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Larry Sanders missed the team bus before Tuesday’s game in Miami and with that simple, seemingly innocuous act, he missed his chance to win a ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. If it was most players, missing the team bus doesn’t have major implications. However, for someone with a past as checkered as Sanders’, he showed a lack of off-court responsibility that was all too familiar.

Here’s what Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin had to say about releasing Sanders:

“He didn’t have any kind of a setback relative to any of the demons he had or any of those things,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said. “He’s an NBA player. He’s kind of flaky. So sometimes you’re late. You’re this. You’re that. None of those things were incidents. But I have to take you in totality as a player and if I know you’re not going to play, then what I’m going to get is everything else. And if I didn’t even feel confident that he’d be a benefit to the group in practice, then it was hard for me to tell coaches, ‘This is a guy you’ve got to keep.’ So they had the conversation on the plane, what else can we do? And we talked about it and we landed and we talked to all the rest of our staff and made a decision.”

“I didn’t think it was going to take him so long to be contributing at least at practice,” Griffin said. “He was much further away than we thought. And by his own admission. He would tell you he was. He knew he was. I think that was a big part of it.”

Sanders, who missed the last two NBA seasons to deal with anxiety and depression, was suspended for marijuana use in April of the 2013-2014 season and in January of the 2014-2015 season. He also was involved in a nightclub brawl in the 2013-2014 season that resulted in a torn ligament in his thumb and citations for disorderly conduct and assault and battery.

Sanders, who had issues with anger growing up, needed to clear his head. He did so by leaving the NBA.

This resulted in entrepreneurial endeavors such as Sanders starting a music label, even producing a song for singer PARTYNEXTDOOR and making songs himself.

Now, Sanders is on the outs again because he missed the bus. Which is interesting considering the partying that the Cavs were doing the night before and the veteran leadership that he was supposed to be getting when he signed with the Cavs.

It sounds like punctuality and productivity were problems for Sanders but for guys to be ready to cut him after missing the bus? That speaks to the fragility of the Cleveland Cavaliers leadership more than anything else. Rather than reel him in, they let him go. Where’s the strength and solidarity in that?

Truth be told, this is probably more about Sanders actually looking like a player who has missed significant time and the Cleveland Cavaliers needing as close to a rock-solid backup center as they could get for Tristan Thompson than his punctuality. As far as signing Dahntay Jones… isn’t it obvious the Cleveland Cavaliers needed more leaders on the team?

They needed the leadership so badly they waived a guy who was locking up Stephen Curry.

So call Sanders a casualty of circumstance as well.

Sanders could continue to work on his craft in what will be the NBA G-League next year.  He averaged 6.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 19.4 minutes per game with the Canton Charge in four assignments to what is the Cleveland Cavaliers’ exclusive NBA Development League (NBADL) affiliate.

Having worked out for teams such as the Boston Celtics prior to working out for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sanders could get signed by a team this summer.

Nonetheless, he could return to the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, according to Griffin:

“Next season, for sure we could [sign him],” Griffin said. “We haven’t said, ‘We’re done with Larry Sanders.’ It’s just not the time to have Larry here.”

One would only hope that whoever signs him is completely invested in him as both a player and person and that Sanders understands that he has no chances to slip up.

For now, thanks for the excitement, Larry!

What do you think of the Cleveland Cavaliers waiving Larry Sanders? Would you like him to return next season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or Twitter @KJG_NBA.