- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW ORLEANS -- Among the options that the Cleveland Cavaliers are weighing as they start to conceive a new front-office team is making a bid to persuade veteran agent Mark Bartelstein to leave the representation game to join them, according to sources briefed on the matter.
Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Cavs have interest in trying to recruit Bartelstein into their management structure as other teams have done in recent years, most notably the Phoenix Suns' hiring of Lon Babby and the Golden State Warriors' hiring of Bob Myers.
The Cavs, though, are not expected to pursue significant changes to their basketball department until after the season. And it's believed within the industry that they would have little hope convincing Bartelstein to leave Chicago-based Priority Sports, which he founded and which represents numerous NFL players in addition to his basketball clientele.
In the wake of last week's dismissal of Chris Grant, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert elevated the widely respected David Griffin to acting general manager and have entrusted him with heading up their rest-of-the-season dealings.
Griffin was a key member of the Phoenix front office that kept the Suns among the Western Conference elite for several seasons after the signing of Steve Nash in 2004. He wound up rejecting GM offers from both the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets before finally leaving the Suns in 2010 to join the Cavs to work for Chris Grant, whose three-year tenure in charge ended last Thursday.
It's believed Griffin is hoping to carve out his own shot at keeping the job full-time, with next Thursday's trade deadline presenting an immediate opportunity to make an impression on Gilbert, who entered this season essentially guaranteeing that Cavs were playoff-bound.
Cleveland, though, has managed to win its first four games in the wake of Grant's dismissal after a dreadful 16-33 start to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. And the Cavs are expected to be active in advance of the deadline to potentially strengthen their roster for the stretch run.
100dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo