Lue ready for 'new challenge' of coaching young talent on LeBron-less Cavs

Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Sport / Getty

To put the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best position to contend for an NBA title the past four seasons, management surrounded LeBron James with battle-tested players who wouldn't shrivel up playing alongside the face of the Association.

Now that the King has gone Hollywood, Cleveland's goals shift from vying for a championship to just qualifying for the playoffs, as the team has nine players who are 26 years of age or younger.

"Of course I would love to have LeBron James, but now that he's gone, it's going to be a new challenge," said head coach Tyronn Lue, according to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn. "I think me and my coaching staff, we're up for it. It's going to be different, a lot of young guys that we can try to teach and mold them how you want them to be.

"I think when LeBron came back [from Miami] and we traded for Kevin Love, we didn't have any draft picks - all veteran guys who could play now and understand how to play and how to win and what it took. Now, having made the trades we made during the season and acquiring some young talent through the draft, it will be a different challenge for us. I'm already excited about it."

The Cavs' group of young guns includes first-rounder Collin Sexton, former Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker, and free-agent acquisitions David Nwaba and Isaiah Taylor. Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and Rodney Hood, acquired during last season's trade deadline, remain with the team.

With veterans J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, George Hill, and Channing Frye in tow, Lue realizes there may be some challenges in finding a proper balance with his young pieces and seasoned veterans.

"I don't know because we've never had that challenge before," added Lue. "I think it will be good because we have some good vets and we've always been surrounded by good vets. I know what we will continue to do is continue to build the culture."

In the four years between James' decision to play in South Beach and his return in 2014, the Cavaliers won fewer than 30 games on three occasions, bottoming out at 19 victories in 2011, their first season without him.

Lue ready for 'new challenge' of coaching young talent on LeBron-less Cavs
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox