Last year the pending speculation was whether LeBron James majestic gifts were slipping a bit and if he was thinking about the end and his legacy. After LBJ proved all of the doubters wrong in leading the Cavs to yet another championship appearance against the Golden State Warriors which had just added Kevin Durant, the critics were set to make LeBron’s pending free agency the curtain that would drop on the Cavs championship window, but now looms an even greater concern for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This issue is greater than the Cavs competing for championships, LeBron’s pending free agency or even a fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
It is the mysterious health of the only head coach in franchise history to lead the team to a championship.
Tyron Lue,40, has been a rather obscure caretaker and minute manager of the greatest basketball player in the world.
He has masterfully deflected all of the trials and tribulations associated with the franchise to continuing to dare be great. Promising that what ever concerns anyone opined about the pending doom of the Cavs was just a mere fallacy.
His pedigree as both a former player in the league for the greatest of all NBA coaches Phil Jackson and as an assistant to one of the most respected Doc Rivers, would not allow for him to do it.
However, now with the Cavs title hopes sputtering and LeBron’s minutes going into a new stratosphere, losing coach Lue for the foreseeable (he says he will return in a week) future may be the gravest issue for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now we are talking about life. The grueling grind that impacts an NBA coach in ways we may never know and couple that with the intense pressure of winning an NBA title and coaching essentially three to four different Cavilers teams in one season.
This week Lue spoke with general manager Koby Altman and announced he would be taking a leave of absence from the team.
"After many conversations with our doctors and [general manager] Koby [Altman] and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, 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 said in a statement.
"I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.
"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team," Lue continued. "I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards."
In his absence the able Larry Drew will assume the role of coaching the Cavs as they continue to adjust with a bevy of injuries and new acquisitions.