CLEVELAND - Meet John Kuester, who had two stretches as an assistant coach with the 76ers and has been elevated in his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the offensive coordinator.

Asked about his increased responsibilities, Kuester responded almost sheepishly, saying: "We have a great group of coaches who have very bright minds about the game, and we have intelligent players. This was just something Mike [coach Mike Brown] wanted to focus on. People don't realize how good he is with the offense, beside being one of the best defensive coaches I've ever been around."

Kuester has made the rounds in the NBA, putting in time with the Boston Celtics, the Sixers, the Detroit Pistons, the New Jersey Nets and, last season, the Orlando Magic. Her has been around such veteran stars as Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish; younger top players such as Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter and Rip Hamilton; an emerging star in Dwight Howard and now . . .

LeBron James.

"He has a chance to be the best I've been around," Kuester said. "I say that, because he has such an understanding at both ends, a great feel for things. Really, he has a chance to be the best of all time.

"When we step into the huddle, he knows what you're thnking before you say it."

Kuester, by the way, has other connections to Philadelphia. His daughter, Katie, is a freshman player at Saint Joseph's University; his son, John, is a senior at St. Joe's, majoring in business. *