A former Georgia Bulldog basketball coach is in line to be the next General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks: Travis Schlenk was an assistant under Ron Jirsa in the late 1990s. Schlenk is now the assistant GM for the Golden State Warriors. From the AJC... The Hawks are set to hire Travis Schlenk, once on Ron Jirsa’s staff at Georgia and lately the assistant general manager with Golden State, as GM. This would mean Schlenk is moving from the NBA West, which the Warriors have ruled for three seasons, to the East. If you’re a GM based in the NBA East, here are your starting points: 1. LeBron James’ team is about to win the East for a seventh consecutive season. 2. LeBron James is 32. If you’re an Eastern Conference team, you’re playing for second place. Nobody in the East has beaten LeBron since 2010. Nobody is beating him today. But today eventually becomes tomorrow, and how many tomorrows are there, even for the indestructible LeBron? If you’re an Eastern team approaching this offseason, wouldn’t gearing up for next year be yet another in the series of fool’s errands? Shouldn’t your sights be set on, say, the 2020-21 season? Schlenk surely knows about retrenching, having been with the Warriors for 12 years. From 1995 through 2012, Golden State made the playoffs once. Only after Bob Myers came aboard in 2011 did the front office begin to figure things out, drafting Klay Thompson that year and Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in 2012. (Schlenk was regarded as one of the organization’s best talent evaluators.) Over the past three regular seasons, the Warriors have lost 39 games. The Hawks lost 39 games in the season just completed. To be fair, the Hawks did finish ahead of LeBron — in the 2014-15 regular season. Everything since has been tepid. In 23 months, they’ve plunged from 60 wins and the conference finals to 43 and a Round 1 exit. They’ve shed four of the starters who won those 60 games. The lone remaining regular mightn’t remain much longer: Paul Millsap has opted out of his contract and is a free agent. It could cost upwards of $200 million over five seasons to keep Millsap, who is — key point here — 42 days younger than LeBron. If the Hawks throw $200 million at Millsap, they’re paying maximum money to a player of a similar age who cannot lift a team above LeBron’s. If they don’t spend that money, they won’t be as good next season. But if they’d been all that hot to begin with, why did they need a new GM? Here it is again: In the grand scheme, re-signing Millsap will do more harm than good. Add $200 million to the $54 million due Kent Bazemore, who didn’t even start in the playoffs, and the $47.3 owed Dwight Howard, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter of an elimination game, and you’ve rendered your team what it was before Danny Ferry got hold of it — not good enough to win anything of consequence and too contractually bloated to get much better. Back to Point No. 2: LeBron’s age. Having entered the NBA at 18, how much longer is he apt to play? Kobe Bryant, another teenage pro, retired at 37, and Kobe at the end wasn’t nearly what he’d been. (He tore his Achilles at 34.) Kobe won five NBA titles; LeBron is working on No. 4. Let’s say LeBron starts to decline enough for it to matter at 35. (Being LeBron, he might never decline. But let’s assume he will.) If you’re an Eastern Conference team, there’s your target date. As Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid said last week: “We’re gearing up at the right time. When we start getting good, that’s when Cleveland and LeBron will start going down.” Maybe that sounds odd, given that the 76ers are 75-253 over the past four seasons. But losing by design yielded Embiid and Dario Saric, two of the NBA’s best rookies this season, and Ben Simmons, who would have been the best rookie had he not gotten hurt. Philly has the third pick in the June draft, which means it could add point guard De’Aaron Fox or shooter Malik Monk or wing Josh Jackson to this burgeoning mix. The Sixers mightn’t be a playoff team next season, but think how they’ll look in October 2020. Think also of this. Milwaukee has Giannis Antetokounmpo, who’s 22 and already one of the NBA’s 10 best players, and Jabari Parker, the No. 2 pick in 2014 who’s coming off another knee injury. Boston, which finished first in the East over the regular season, made Jaylen Brown of Wheeler last year’s No. 3 pick and will soon make Markelle Fultz the first player drafted. Orlando has a nucleus of young players — Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon — plus the draft’s No. 6 pick and a new president in Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto, and a new GM in John Hammond, who left Milwaukee. Yes, the landscape can change over four seasons. (Four summers ago, the aforementioned Ferry was the toast of Atlanta.) But if you’re the Hawks, do you see your future as brighter than any of the four Eastern teams listed above? Do you believe that retaining a 32-year-old who didn’t make even third-team All-NBA will stamp you as a challenger for the Eastern throne when finally LeBron is unseated or abdicates? If Schlenk’s first major move is to splurge on Millsap, that’d be an inauspicious start. If I’m the Hawks, I don’t want any GM who says, “Here’s my plan to beat LeBron next year.” Because nobody’s beating LeBron next year. The only way to plan is for that day when LeBron is no longer LeBron. If you’re an Eastern Conference team, now’s the time to retrench.