Whether General Manager Ryan McDonough makes any additional moves this summer or during the season to wash themselves clean of veterans leaving the young core to continue to grow (and lose a lot) one more time remains to be seen.
However the majority (if not all) of the current veterans on the roster will be gone by this offseason, leaving multiple holes on the roster, money to spend, and much like the summer of 2004, the opportunity to acquire that one player that catapults the young roster towards the top of the Western Conference.
With the conclusion of the generally lost 2004 season (after all the moves and the sudden reliance on the young talent the team finished 29-54 after making the playoffs the season before), Phoenix was left with just the core of young players as well as the cap space to go after at least one star free agent.
There were actually three possibilities that summer, three stars who any one of them would have made an immediate and lasting impact on the franchise, who Phoenix considered acquiring: Tracy McGrady was potentially available through trade, while Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were unrestricted free agents.
It was rumored early in the summer that the Suns and the Orlando Magic discussed a Tracy McGrady trade in which Phoenix would have moved Marion, Johnson, Jake Voskuhl and their 7th overall pick in 2004 for the superstar wingman.
However, on June 23, 2004, Paul Coro reported in the Arizona Republic that Phoenix did offer Marion and the 2004 first round pick, but that they wouldn’t place Johnson or Stoudemire in a package.
It turned out too that Phoenix was never that close to making a trade (the discussions probably did end with Phoenix’s desire to retain Johnson – who would ironically leave the following season anyway) because the very day of the report, the Suns traded away their 7th overall pick to create some cap space, which would eventually be used on a free agent. The question back then was: but who?