Right after the NBA trade deadline, the Cavaliers made two big moves in signing free agents Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut after they were bought out from their respective teams in order to sign on with a contender to compete for a championship. Deron Williams was to be the playmaker that Lebron was asking for, and Bogut would be Tristan Thompsons backup, immediately coming in as the Cavs rim protector.
1 minute into Andrew Bogut’s Cavalier career, he fractured his left tibia and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, a big blow to both Bogut and the Cavs. While Kevin Love is out, the only other Center on the team other than Thompson is Channing Frye, and he’s known more for his shooting and floor spacing than his rebounding and defense. So to get help protecting the basket, the Cavaliers went out and signed Larry Sanders, who hasn’t played since the 2014-2015 season. Sanders was a good player in his day, but there are still some questions behind his mental health, as he left the league in 2015 after battling anxiety and depression, but he was known for his rim protection and his rebounding when he was in the league. He was so good and showed enough potential for the Bucks to go ahead and sign him to a 4 year, $44 million extension in the summer of 2013. Although he never finished out that contract, there might still be a little defense left in the big man, as he is still fairly young and supposedly has tried to stay in game shape as much as possible.
Ultimately, this is a good move for the Cavs, as it is just a low risk high reward situation. They needed a backup Center after theirs went down after 1 minute, and Sanders could be considered a younger version of Bogut anyway, without the passing ability. The Cavs know that they must either play bigger than the Warriors brand of small ball, or be able to match up with the likes of Pau Gasol and the other big men down in San Antonio to have a chance at repeating as the NBA champions. If Sanders is anywhere near as good as he used to be, the Cavs will have found more than just a backup Center.