The Cleveland Cavaliers' Delonte West(notes) skipped a second consecutive training camp practice Tuesday night and the front office is unsure when the troubled shooting guard will return to the team, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
West, who has a mood disorder, had been expected to be an important part of LeBron James(notes) and Shaquille O'Neal's(notes) supporting cast this season. The Cavaliers could punish West with a fine or suspension, but that doesn't solve the bigger issue for a franchise under immense pressure to deliver a title. Truth be told, the Cavs can no longer count on him.
The Cavaliers had considered the possibility of trading West, sources said, but his recent instability makes that an improbable scenario.
After an arrest on a weapons charge two weeks ago in Maryland, West was already facing possible legal action and a certain league suspension. West had three loaded and concealed guns on a motorcycle jaunt across a suburban Washington, D.C., highway. Last season, West left the team for several weeks to get treatment for his lifelong battle with mood disorders.
Beyond the fact that he's in his Cleveland apartment, one associate said, the reason for West's absence is still a source of speculation for Cavs general manager Danny Ferry and coach Mike Brown. West attended the Cavs' media day availability Monday but was an unexcused no-show for both of Tuesday's practices at the team's facility in suburban Cleveland.
Ferry didn’t immediately respond to a text message.
"On a personal note, you always hope he's doing well," Brown told reporters Tuesday morning. "But I have to continue looking forward and coaching this team."
Ferry has gone to great lengths to help West battle his demons, but this is a vital season for the Cavaliers. With the investment in Shaq, and James' pending free agency next summer, Cleveland can ill-afford to let the drama surrounding West get in the team's way.
- Delonte West