Having parted ways with general manager Lance Blanks this week, the Suns are the first NBA team this offseason seeking a new GM. And according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, team president Lon Babby and the Suns have already lined up a number of potential candidates for the job.
Coro reports that Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman, former Pacers GM David Morway and former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester are viewed as viable contenders for the Phoenix opening. Assistant GMs Ryan McDonough (Celtics), Wes Wilcox (Hawks) and Troy Weaver (Thunder) are potential candidates as well.
Weltman and Morway have a bit of history either with the Suns or the Phoenix area, as Weltman was a finalist when the team hired Blanks as GM in 2010. Morway, meanwhile, graduated from the University of Arizona.
According to Babby, the team is unlikely to make a promotion from within the organization, but previous GM experience isn't necessarily a qualification for the job. Still, Babby noted that he can't imagine "a first-rate talent evaluator would not have front-office experience." As Coro points out, if front-office experience is a requirement, that would eliminate a couple popular speculative candidates, in former Suns players Grant Hill and Charles Barkley.
According to Coro, members of the Suns organization have hoped to see Hill eventually return to the team in a management role. As for Barkley, he has suggested before that he could have interest in a GM role with the Suns, and reiterated today on XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix that he hoped to receive a chance to run an NBA team at some point (Twitter link via Eric Sorenson). However, as Coro writes, the Suns' GM position would likely mean a pay cut and a workload increase for Barkley.
"I think the job requires rowing the boat every single day and it’s an all-consuming job and my impression is that he has a pretty full and good life," Babby said of Barkley. "Taking on a challenge like this might be something he really doesn’t want if he knew what it entails."