Why the Miami Heat shouldn’t move its young core

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 11: Wayne Ellington
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 11: Wayne Ellington /

The Miami Heat should stay away from putting its young core on the market.

Much like the rest of NBA fans, Heat Nation can’t wait for 2018 free agency to officially begin.

Especially considering that guys like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard may very well be up for grabs. And both have been rumored to at least be considering the Miami Heat as a destination.

However, the front office should move forward cautiously.

Because while it’s unlikely that management will be able (or even want) to keep the 2017-18 roster fully intact, there are players that the franchise should already be looking to build around. And should not even be mentioned in trade discussions.

Say like Josh Richardson.

Drafted by the Heat in 2015, the swingman has steadily been growing into one of the team’s most dependable bodies. He missed just one game last season, having averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. And although he wasn’t always able to provide 30 points a night (as he did against the Houston Rockets on February 7), Richardson consistently added to Miami’s success.

Perhaps more important yet though, is how wholeheartedly the 24-year-old has bought into the organization’s system. Between completing trusting head coach Erik Spoelstra, soaking up knowledge from the team captains and embodying Heat Culture on and off the court, it’s clear Richardson has found himself a forever home.

If president Pat Riley and company knows what’s best for them, anyways.

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Justise Winslow should also be safe this summer, even though plenty of trade machines already have him on the move. He may have been sidelined during most of 2016-17, but the forward came back with a vengeance this past year.

On paper, 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists a matchup may not seem like much, but Winslow has Miami Heat Basketball down pat. Whether it was facilitating offensive plays or being a defensive powerhouse on the other end of the floor, the 22-year-old always took on whatever role was asked of him, and did it with ease to boot.

Which is exactly the type of player that will help lead Miami back to the top of the Eastern Conference.

There’s also Bam Adebayo, who is already poised to eventually outshine some of the league’s top centers (here’s looking at Dwight Howard). After finding himself playing more minutes than expected due to Hassan Whiteside going down with an injury, the young buck finished the season averaging 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists a game, in 19.8 minutes of play.

Sure, he made some mistakes here and there. But he bounced back each time, a student of the game through and through. The center also proved to be fearless, already having locked down some of the NBA’s top dogs, like Steph Curry. His mindset immediately fell into line with the Heat’s mentality, making it a no-brainer as to why he should stick around.

It’s obviously going to take a worthy package to even put an offer in for guys like Tyreke Evans (much less DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and so on). However bringing aboard a new face, even attached to an A-List name, isn’t worth losing what the team already has in Adebayo, Richardson and Winslow.

In other words youthful, moldable talent who already possess the exact qualities needed to thrive in Miami. And who have already started to do just that.

Next: LeBron James is Miami Heat tested, Josh Richardson approved

The Miami Heat have a bright future ahead, as long as the right personnel is involved.