One of the National Basketball Association’s top teams will be losing one of their leaders. The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Monday that head coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence. The third-year coach is taking time off to focus on his health, according to reports.
Lue, 40, said that he has been suffering from chest pains and struggling to get sleep all season. On three occasions this year, Lue was unable to coach a full game due to health issues. The most recent occurrence was on St. Patrick’s Day this past weekend Cavaliers associate head coach Larry Drew will take over as the interim head coach.
Tyronn Lue Of The Cavaliers Leaving Soon
The team did not set a timetable for Lue’s return. The loss comes at an inconvenient time for the Cavaliers, as the playoffs are less than a month away.
Cleveland currently holds the third-best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. However, they have yet to guarantee a spot in the playoffs.
As of the announcement of Lue’s leave, the Cavaliers have just a .5 game lead in their division. The Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat are all within 3.5 games of Cleveland.
With such a tight race in the Eastern Conference, losing their head coach could cost the Cavaliers. If they fall below fourth in the conference, they’ll have to play on the road in round one of the playoffs.
The Cavaliers have played in the NBA Finals each of the last three years. They won the NBA Championship in the 2015-16 season, Lue’s first as head coach.
Lue’s stepping away adds another bump in a rocky season for the Cavaliers. The drama started in the offseason when Cleveland traded All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. At the trade deadline in mid-February, the Cavaliers made a flurry of trades, overhauling their roster. That including sending Isiah Thomas, the primary return from the Irving trade, to the Los Angeles Lakers.
There have also been reports all season of poor chemistry on the team. With their head coach possibly away for a while, we’ll see if the Cavaliers can get it together.