West misses Cavs' first practices
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Less than 24 hours after saying he was focused on basketball, Delonte West skipped Cleveland's first day of practice.
The Cavaliers' troubled guard did not show up for Tuesday's morning workout to the surprise of coach Mike Brown, and missed the evening session at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
General manager Danny Ferry said West, who has been treated for bipolar disorder, was not in any harm.
"Delonte is in Cleveland," Ferry said via e-mail Tuesday night. "He is addressing a personal matter."
West, who has battled depression and mood disorders for years, was recently arrested for gun possession in Maryland after police pulled over his three-wheel motorcycle for a traffic violation and found he was carrying three loaded weapons -- two handguns and a shotgun in a guitar case he had on his back.
West was charged with two counts of possessing a concealed handgun, which is a misdemeanor in Maryland. He has a court date on Nov. 20.
West was in good spirits on Monday at the team's media day. He said he had resumed taking his medications and was excited about the upcoming season. West downplayed his recent arrest, saying once the details were known "you'll see that it's not as big as some are making it."
Brown offered support to West, but said he has to move ahead and coach the other 19 players who are in camp.
"On a personal note, you always hope he's doing well," Brown said of West. "But I have to continue looking forward and coaching this team. Whether it is Delonte or somebody else, if they miss practice and it is unexcused it will be handled internally."
West left the team during training camp last season to get treatment for bipolar disorder, an illness he said he has been dealing with for years. West returned to the team renewed and talked openly about his battles with depression and mood swings.
He wound up having his best all-around season as a pro, averaging 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He also shot a career-best 40 percent from 3-point range and averaged a career-high in steals while helping the Cavs win 66 games, a franchise record.
West made 64 starts, another 14 in the playoffs, and was arguably the Cavs' second-most productive player in the postseason after LeBron James.
West likely will be suspended by the NBA pending the outcome of the weapons charges.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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