The Cleveland Cavaliers are moving on from an era of unquestioned dominance—the franchise has qualified for the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons. With coach Tyronn Lue looking at a very different situation this season, he's made it clear that his former alpha, LeBron James, is "irreplaceable." Thus, T-Lue isn't looking to replace the "best player in the game for so long," but instead to lead his squad to maximize its potential.
"Of course I would love to have LeBron James, but now that he’s gone it's going to be a new challenge," Lue told the Boston Globe. "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 ... 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 this summer signed All-Star forward Kevin Love to a four-year, $120 million contract extension. The team will look for Love to provide consistent output as the team's No. 1 scorer and rookie guard Collin Sexton to grow into a big role.
Lue said the team won't be bottoming out—they want to continue to be competitive for the Cleveland fan base.
"But it's hard to replace LeBron James," Lue said. "Don't say we're going to replace LeBron. He's an irreplaceable player. It's not replacing LeBron James, the best player in the game for so long, and he's meant so much to the franchise and every franchise he’s played for—Miami, Cleveland, the city of Cleveland, his family, his friends, coaches, players. Everybody he's been around he's made better and you can't replace that. So we've got to understand that and continue to keep growing and working collectively and be the best we can be."
It goes without saying that things won't be the same, but the East is wide open, and Cleveland should compete for a playoff spot.