A statement released Monday by the Cleveland Cavaliers said Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team, due to health issues.
The coach 2016 NBA Finals champions says in his own words, “I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.”
Lue cited chest pains and loss of sleep as key factors in his decision. He also adds that neither he nor his doctors quite knows what is causing the health problems. He does not want these issues affecting the team, as he feels he cannot coach under these conditions.
Lue did not give a timetable for his return.
Taking over Lue’s duties will be Assistant Coach Larry Drew. As expected, Drew’s coaching tenure is on an interim basis, until Tyronn Lue is back on the bench. He has never had a Head Coach position in the NBA.
LeBron James has already gone on record saying that his coach’s health takes precedence over Cleveland’s playoff seeding and future performance.
“We worry about his health, obviously. That’s way more important than this game of basketball. We know he’s been doing everything he needs to do to stay healthy… Everything that’s been going on with our year, it’s just another one.” (LeBron James via ESPN)
While it sounds as if James is slightly frustrated with all of the Cavaliers’ misfortunes this season, he understands Lue’s predicament. He also alluded to knowing Lue has been struggling with health issues since the beginning of the second half of the season.
Speculations continue to run wild around LeBron-led teams that whichever individual holds the Head Coach moniker is more of a placeholder than a play caller. Since his days with the Miami Heat, NBA fans and players have surmised that James has a heavy hand in coaching whatever team for which he plays. If the Cavaliers continue to win without their head coach, that will only fuel this particular fire.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference. Their next game is Monday against the seventh-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
Featured image by Tony Dejak/Associated Press
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