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Old 10-03-2009, 06:40 PM   #1
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Default West Held Out of Scrimmage; LeBron and Shaq Debut

Shaquille O'Neal (left) and LeBron James joke around during NBA
basketball day on Saturday in Independence, Ohio.

Originally Posted by
AKRON, Ohio -- LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal made their first public appearance together as Cleveland teammates.

Delonte West stayed out of sight.

The Cavaliers' troubled guard, who is dealing with personal problems as well as legal issues pending from a recent arrest on weapons charges, was kept away from Cleveland's intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, a workout that served as the Cavaliers' debut of James and O'Neal.

West skipped the first four practices of training camp, absences the team said were unexcused. He returned on Thursday and took part in workouts at Cleveland Clinic Courts, the team's suburban training facility in Independence.

General manager Danny Ferry decided to have West, who has battled mental illness for years, remain on his own during the team's Wine and Gold scrimmage at the University of Akron's Rhodes Arena, a place where James played many of his high school games.

Ferry said he didn't want to rush West back.

"I think that was probably the right step for him today," Ferry said. "The next step is the next practice. Overall, I think he is going in a good direction."

West was arrested on Sept. 17 near his home in Maryland after police found he was carrying three loaded weapons -- two handguns and a shotgun, which he had in a guitar case on his back -- after they pulled him over for a traffic violation while he was riding a three-wheel motorcycle. He faces misdemeanor possession charges.

West appeared at media day on Monday, when he said he had returned to taking his medications and was focused on basketball. However, West, who has said he has bipolar disorder, did not show up for practice the next day and was absent again on Wednesday.

Ferry was asked why West did not report.

"I don't know that it was the right time for him to come," said Ferry, who deferred comment about West's situation for several days.

Ferry said he has several conversations in the past two days with West, who started 64 games for the Cavs last season, during which he offered his and the team's support. Ferry, though, made it clear West must be responsible and fulfill his obligations to the team.

"There has to be a level of accountability as we're trying to build a championship culture and continue to grow as an organization," Ferry said. "There's going to be ups and downs for that for sure, but at the end our purpose will remain the same."

Last season, West was excused from training camp for about two weeks to receive treatment for mental illness.

Ferry wasn't specific but intimated that West was getting counseling.

"We are using resources to help him," he said. "I think our environment is great for people. It's a good group of people who work hard, that care about each other and want to win, and having Delonte in that I think is positive and we're excited that he's with us. I'm encouraged that he's making progress."

There is no timetable for West's return. The Cavaliers open the exhibition season at home on Tuesday against Charlotte.

As for the scrimmage, James and O'Neal played on opposite teams one last time. O'Neal, acquired in an offseason trade, played for the Gold while James led the Wine.

Shaq's team won 54-38.

O'Neal was unofficially 6 of 8 from the field, dropping at least four short jumpers and one layup when he got behind the Wine's defense. The 7-foot-1 big man is settling into his new home, but he's still learning about some of his new teammates.

When he checked in at the scorer's table during the second quarter, O'Neal wasn't sure whom he was replacing.

"I got the big kid," he said, pointing toward 7-foot-2 rookie center Luke Nevill. "I don't know his name."

He knows all about James, though. Earlier in the day, O'Neal and James mugged for the cameras and generally clowned around during the team's media day, which was postponed after two hours on Monday because of a power outage. James and O'Neal rapped some lyrics together and lifted guard Mo Williams off the ground during a photo shoot.

O'Neal, who has won four NBA titles, believes he has joined a special group.

"On paper, this is a perfect team," he said. "Shooters, big guys, slashers and the King. On paper, it's a damn good team."

James has been impressed with O'Neal's athleticism and physical condition.

"He's in shape. He looks great," said James, who scored 10 points but missed 5 of 7 free throws. "You can't ask for more than that. He's getting up and down the court. He's playing defense. He's looking really good in the low post on offense. That's what we got him here for."
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: West Held Out of Scrimmage; LeBron and Shaq Debut

Mo was also held out with a tight groin.

Windy said that Gibson looked good in the scrimmage running the point
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: West Held Out of Scrimmage; LeBron and Shaq Debut

Originally Posted by 1~Gibson~1
Mo was also held out with a tight groin.

Windy said that Gibson looked good in the scrimmage running the point

Pretty easy for someone to look good in a scrimmage honestly.
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