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Report: Bucks reach four-year extension with Larry Sanders

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Three

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 25: Larry Sanders #8 of the Milwaukee Bucks high fives Brandon Jennings after drawing a foul against the Miami Heat during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bradley Center on APRIL 25, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

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The Milwaukee Bucks are rebuilding in the wake of the failed Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis experiment.

But they have one piece that can serve as a cornerstone in whatever is being built — Larry Sanders. The fourth-year player out of Virginia Commonwealth had a breakout season last year and is one of the better defensive anchor big men in the league. The Bucks had the 12th best defense in the NBA (in points per possession) last season and that was with heavy minutes for Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings (not exactly defensive stoppers). Sanders was a big part of why.

Which is why the Bucks have locked Sanders up with a four-year, $44 million extension of his rookie deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Incentives could push that has high as $48 million. That’s a fair number for both sides.

This isn’t a surprise, we told you last week the sides were close.

Sanders is becoming the face of the franchise for the Bucks, and last season in addition to his defense (2.8 blocks a game) he averaged 9.8 points a game (shooting better than 50 percent) and 9.5 rebounds a game. He’s a very good center.

The Bucks will be trying out a Brandon Knight/O.J. Mayo backcourt this season, then they will try their luck in the lottery. Rebuilds are by design not usually fun to watch.

But it’s all about acquiring assets — the Bucks have a good one and they just locked it up. Smart move.