Cavs sign big man Sanders, release Bogut

Larry Sanders is making an NBA return with the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers have reached a contract agreement with free agent center Larry Sanders, general manager David Griffin announced in a team release Monday.

Sanders will wear No. 9 for the Cavs.

To make room for Sanders, the Cavs waived center Andrew Bogut, who played just 58 seconds with the team before suffering a season-ending leg injury.

Sanders’ deal with the Cavs is believed to include a team option for 2017-18.

The option aspect of the contract was vital to the Cavs, sources told Amico Hoops, as the Cavs wanted the ability to control where Sanders plays next should he flourish in Cleveland.

Reports said Sanders will begin his season with the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ D-League affiliate.

The Cavs were looking for a big man following the injury to Bogut. They also reached out to free agent power forward/center Josh Smith and several others before ultimately deciding on Sanders.

Cavs star LeBron James told reporters Saturday he was in favor of the team signing Sanders. “I would like that,” James said. “Why not.”

Sanders, 28, is 6-foot-11 and last played with Milwaukee during the 2014-15 season. He visited Cleveland and worked out in front of coach Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and assistant Larry Drew in late February.

At the time of Sanders’ Cleveland workout, he had made it known he preferred to join the Cavs over the other 15 or so teams showing interest, sources told Amico Hoops.

Sanders looked good physically, sources said, as he kicked off 2017 with a “protein binge” to add some weight and strength.

The Cavs passed on Sanders only because they learned Bogut was about to become available shortly after the Feb. 22 trading deadline. Bogut was waived by Philadelphia following a deal with Dallas, and the Cavs signed him after he cleared waivers.

The Cavs preferred Bogut’s recent experience as a starting center for a Golden State team that had reached back-to-back NBA Finals.

When Bogut went down, the Cavs quickly turned back to Sanders, sources said.

Sanders averaged 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots in nearly five seasons, all with the Bucks. He suddenly and surprisingly walked away from the game in 2015, offering no concrete reason.

However, he made his intentions to return to the NBA clear over the summer and started working out for teams in January.

Amico Hoops first reported the news of the Cavs’ discussions with Sanders back in February, as well as when those discussions grew more serious at the start of this past weekend.

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