The Cavaliers are close to reaching a contract agreement with free agent center Larry Sanders, a league source told Amico Hoops on Friday.
There are still several minor obstacles to clear before a deal is finalized, the source added.
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.
The Cavs are looking for a replacement for Andrew Bogut, who suffered a season-ending leg injury less than a minute into his first game with the team Monday.
Bogut is expected to be released either this weekend or early next week, creating a roster spot for a playoff-eligible big man such as Sanders.
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 each of the previous two NBA Finals.
But when Bogut went down, the Cavs immediately 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.
His agent, Joel Bell, told a Wisconsin-based reporter in mid-February that Sanders had an offer and was likely to sign with a playoff contender soon, but did not provide specifics.
Looks like Ima need my goggles back ?
— Larry Sanders (@l8show_thegoat) March 10, 2017