Tyronn Lue will be stepping away from coaching the Cleveland Cavilers for the near future. “I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year,” according to an official statement from Lue earlier this morning. This is coming days after LeBron James and Lue had a shouting match on the bench during the Cavs loss to one of the leagues hottest teams, the Portland Trail Blazers. Lue has also left games earlier during the season due to, “illness.”
The Cavs have not been great this year. Although they are currently seeded third in the Eastern Conference, the Cavs are only 3.5 games ahead of the eighth seed Miami Heat. The defense has been horrible all season, and the Koby Altman overhauled their entire roster in a last second effort to get to their fourth straight Finals.
Lue has seemingly been on the hot seat since he took over for David Blatt in 2015 when LeBron advocated for Lue, at the time the assistant head coach, to take on the head coach responsibilities. The problem with having an all time great like LeBron James is when the team does not win the Finals, someone must be the fall guy. Kevin Love has held this role for the last 3 years. Lue is creepy closer and closer to this role.
Let’s be realistic here: The stress LeBron puts on teammates, coaches, and management is something that is mentioned frequently, but rightly so. LeBron is in year 15 of his NBA career and is 33 years old. He wants to win now while he can. Lue’s symptoms could be due to the accumulated stress of being the head coach of LeBron James the past 3 years. Does that make him a bad coach? Absolutely not. Does that mean that his future depends on what LeBron decides to do this summer? Absolutely.
All the talk surrounding LeBron leaving the Cavs for teams like the Rockets, Lakers, or Sixers is real. The Cavs have no cap room, and not much opportunity to grow with an aging LeBron. If LeBron decided to bolt this summer, the Cavs first question they need to answer is what they want to do with Lue.
Lue has won an NBA Championship, and seems to have the respect of his players. If the Cavs believe the Lue is a quality coach, they should give him the opportunity to develop the next generation of the Cavs. Erik Spoelstra got the chance to mold the post-big-three Miami Heat team. Spoelstra continues to exceed expectations with an average Miami roster, and if Lue is the same caliber coach, he will be able to do the same with the pieces acquired over the last year between the ridiculous Kyrie Irving trade, and all the trade deadline assets.
When a coach of a perennial sports franchise walks away due to “Health Complications,” during a tough stretch, a lot of speculation will spiral from that. Hopefully Lue will be back on the bench within the next week or two. This really isn’t a big deal as it pertains to Cleveland’s success on the court. This health scare has no effect on Lue’s future with the Cavs. Lue’s future lies in the hands of LeBron James, just like it always has.
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