Larry Sanders’ Awful Season Continues With Surgery, Out 6 Weeks

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Larry SandersWhen the Milwaukee Bucks signed Larry Sanders to a four-year, $44 million contract extension last summer, it looked like a pretty good move.

Sanders showed throughout the 2012-13 season that he could be a highly impactful defensive player. He was just 24 years old (now 25), and the money was in line with other defense-first centers such as Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee.

And nothing has gone right since.

SH Blog: Chandler unhappy with Knicks’ defensive tactics, Mayo rips Drew’s coaching style

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knicks-vs-brooklyn-nets-at-barclays-centerThe first time the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets met this season back in Dec. 5, both teams were a total mess as they failed to meet expectations in monumental fashion. The Nets proved to be the bigger mess at the time, suffering a humiliating 113-83 loss on their own home floor.

Just a little over a month later, not much has changed in the sense that both are still trying to find a way to reach the .500 mark. The Nets (17-22), at least, are starting to show some sense of consistency: they are an impressive 7-1 in January and holding opponents to 92.5 points. On Martin Luther King Jr. day, the New York teams met for the second time this season and the Nets flipped the script on the Knicks for an impressive 103-80 blowout win in MSG.

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Bernucca: Memo to Mitch Kupchak: Stop Haggling and Start Tanking

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Mitch Kupchak shouldn’t be playing hardball. kupchak

In his desire to trade Pau Gasol, the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers should not have insisted on receiving Dion Waiters or a first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nobody has overpaid for a rental since Ernie Grunfeld sent Ray Allen to Seattle for Gary Payton — and that was a long time ago.

Kupchak should have lowered his demands to match the team’s expectations. The Lakers are done for this season and should be singularly committed to one agenda: Making sure this rare down period for one of the NBA’s most storied franchises doesn’t last more than one season.

Kupchak should be tanking.

Some of the telltale signs already are in place. The Lakers have a bloated payroll of aging, overpaid players, almost all of them on expiring contracts. Injuries to their stars have hampered their ability to compete on their customary high level. They already are fading fast in the Western Conference playoff race.

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Sixth Man Rankings: Best Bench Players Igniting Surprise Teams

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Growing up, fans are taught several “facts” about team sports.

It’s a fact that teamwork is better than selfish play. It’s usually a fact that a good defense beats a good offense. It’s a fact in baseball that last licks is more advantageous than leading off.

Perhaps no “fact” is more emphasized, however, than the notion that the best players in every sport always start.

In the NBA in 2013, that “fact” is fiction. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Five Things to Watch: Milwaukee Bucks

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Brandon KnightCapping off a mediocrity-defining three-year stretch that saw them finish ninth, ninth and eighth in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks should have entered the summer of 2013 with change as the most obvious mandate.

As in change everything.

Despite a return to the playoffs and encouraging progress from big men Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson, the Bucks had little to show for their efforts last season, as coaching upheaval and a dysfunctional locker room motivated GM John Hammond to take a flamethrower to his roster once again.

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