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NEW YORK — Kiki Vandeweghe is emerging as the leading candidate to preside as president of the Cavaliers next season and beyond, numerous sources stipulate.

While it’s certainly understandable why Dan Gilbert’s cherry ownership group would want a recognizable name accredited for quickly rebuilding the lottery decaying Nuggets into a repeat playoff team, it’s bewildering why team owner E. Stanley Kroenke granted his GM permission to interview for the job.

Either the pair is incompatible or Kroenke feels George Karl’s personnel proficiency is satisfactory.

Then again, maybe it’s neither.

Maybe Kroenke’s simply doing Vandeweghe a favor, rewarding him for steering the Nuggets to success by giving him an opportunity to enhance his rank and salary serial number.

Vandeweghe is one of the lowest paid ($800,000) GMs in the league.

Gilbert appears prepared to pay significantly more. Kroenke’s decision is expected momentarily:

Either authorize Vandeweghe to walk away from a contract with one year remaining without asking the Cavs for compensation, or do what Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner did last week after Gilbert was sanctioned (for some unknown reason) to romance GM Ed Stefanski; sign him to a four-year extension at a consequential raise.

According to prevalent reports, Sonics GM Rick Sund — six weeks shy of becoming a free agent — has had dialogue with the Cavs regarding their front office vacancy.

I don’t believe it.

It’s my understanding Sund and Seattle are making every effort to resume their relationship; both sides want it to happen and neither side is being illogical.

It would be senseless for chairman Howard Schultz and CEO Wally Walker to sanction Sund to stray from his busy work load.

Much to everyone’s astonishment, Seattle took the Spurs to six games before being eliminated from the playoffs.

Furthermore, Nate McMillan is on the verge of becoming the second most sought-after free agent coach behind Phil Jackson, and seven Sonics, including Ray Allen, are cavorting down that same yellow brick road and there’s homework to be done for next month’s draft.

On the other hand, I totally believe reports that Pacers’ senior VP David Moray has met with the Cavs, several times in fact, during the playoffs.

You can afford to be magnanimous when you’ve got Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird going for you.

Despite the team’s playoff absorption the two executives choose to give their people every chance to get ahead . . . as long as those people aren’t assistant coaches.

Meaning teams interested in talking to Mike Brown about a head coaching position had to wait until Indy was eliminated.

Behind The (Moving) Screens:

Why do I suspect Thomas is targeting McMillan as the Knicks’ next coach?

You mean, aside from his competence and toughness, and that Nate and Isiah are boys, and the fact they (Lenny Wilkens, too) share the same Atlanta agent, Lonnie Cooper?

McMillan and the Knicks’ Jamal Crawford have a connection and affection from Seattle.

The Cavs plan to pursue Antonio Daniels (after renouncing rights to Jeff McInnis) to the mid-level max, roughly $40 million over six years . . . The Grizzlies are trying to trade Jason Williams to the Timberwolves for Sam Cassell, or anywhere, for that matter, for anyone . . . When Penny Hardaway bolted the Knicks toward the end of the season he did so without management’s consent.

A suspension was considered but it would have created more of a commotion than he was worth.

Washington’s Kwame Brown missed a practice and a shootaround before Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld ordered him to stay home for Game 4 of the series against Miami.

The next day the unrepentant (contrary to reports he did not insult or challenge Grunfeld or Eddie Jordan in Monday’s meeting) 23-year-old was suspended for the remainder of the playoffs.

The very next day several teams called the Wizards inquiring about trading for him.

Delete any thoughts the media might have implanted in your brain about Jamaal Magloire being traded this summer, or the Hornets’ center demanding out a la Baron Davis. It’s not happening.

When Pat Riley met with Jerry Buss at the end of last season to discuss the possibility of another merger one of the opening topics was the irreconcilable difference between Shaq and Kobe.

“Give me their phone numbers and I’ll settle this right now,” Riley said.

“There’s no reason to talk to Shaq,” Buss replied, “I’ve already decided to trade him.”

To which Riley responded, “In that case why not trade him to me?”

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