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After tough trade deadline day, James, Lue ready to fast-track four new Cavs

Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Basketball

ATLANTA -- Tyronn Lue took over as coach of the Cavaliers after 41 games during the 2015-16 season and still led the team to Cleveland's first championship in 52 years.

Being thrust into the fire then may help Lue now. The four players acquired at Thursday's trade deadline are expected to join the Cavs Friday night in Atlanta and barring any failed physicals will likely participate in Saturday's practice before the Cavs fly to Boston.

The Cavs will be six men short for Friday's game against the Hawks after the departures of Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and Jae Crowder. Lue said he will start LeBron James, rookie Cedi Osman, J.R. Smith, Jose Calderon and Tristan Thompson.

But there is much to do to integrate ex-Lakers center/forward Larry Nance Jr. and guard Jordan Clarkson, former Kings point guard George Hill and ex-Jazz guard Rodney Hood. Only 29 games remain in the regular season and the Cavs may be without forward Kevin Love, sidelined with a fractured left hand, for another month.

"The front office made changes that they felt best fit this franchise, and it's time to go to work," James said before shootaround at Philips Arena. "It is what it is. It's not like, 'Do we have enough time?' It's the time that we have, so let's make the most of it."

During his 15 years in the league, James had held pre-training camp minicamps in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Miami. He said he considers it "his job" to get his new teammates up to speed.

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"That's my job to get these guys integrated as fast as possible," James said. "I know the coaching staff and T-Lue is going to do it as well, but it's my job to get these guys on the same page with us with what we want to accomplish, what we want to do. I look forward to getting them here."

Lue huddled on the flight to Atlanta with his coaching staff discussing the starting lineup and rotations.

"There are going to be some peaks and valleys, but I've liked what we've done," Lue said. "I just know we'll start playing good basketball at the right time when it matters going into the playoffs. I'm excited about the young guys we have. Putting it all together is going to be fun and it's going to be a good ride."

Lue said for now his rotations will continue to be matchup-based.

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