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The Phoenix Suns are looking for their fourth general manager in seven years since the departure of Bryan Colangelo in February 2006.

And for the second time, Lon Babby, the president of basketball operations, is leading the charge to find what he called "a first-rate talent evaluator." (He used the phrase "a basketball genius" prior to the hiring of Lance Blanks.)

The candidates -- both interested and rumored -- range from the high-profile (Phil Jackson) to the widely popular (Charles Barkley, Grant Hill).

Though, it would seem the people's choices appear to be long shots after Babby said during Tuesday's press conference, "I can't imagine a circumstance where a first-rate talent evaluator hasn't worked in a front office. I suppose it's theoretically possible."

A more probable list of candidates may include current executives Sam Hinkie (Houston), Ryan McDonough (Boston), Troy Weaver (Oklahoma City) and Wes Wilcox (Atlanta), former general managers David Morway of Indiana and Denver's Mark Warkentien, as well as ESPN analyst Tom Penn, who has front office experience with both the Blazers and Grizzlies.

There are also past candidates who may be considered once more such as former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester, Wizards VP of basketball administration Tommy Sheppard and Milwaukee assistant GM Jeff Weltman.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be someone, in my mind, who's had general manager experience," Babby said. "Obviously that would be a plus, but I don't think it's necessary."

What about any in-house candidates? John Treloar, the club's director of player personnel, has more than 30 years of basketball experience. However, most of that time has been spent on the coaching level.

"I would say unlikely but it's never impossible," Babby said about possibly promoting from within. "I do have tremendous confidence in the people that we have that will continue to row the boat for us."

Time is another consideration, given the preparation needed ahead of the draft and free agency.

"We're going to move as quickly as we can," Babby said. "It's obviously a critically, critically important summer for us and a critical decision. I won't rush to get it right, but there is some urgency as we move more and more into the offseason."

Craig Grialou, Reporter

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