The recent Kevin Durant free agency drama overshadowed the bright spots of what the Miami Heat accomplished last season and how they can use the same formula with superior results for years to come.
First, they found a player, in the NBA D-League, who became the first to rocket from a minimum to a maximum salary from one season to the next. Miami did what no else has done before with Hassan Whiteside in his first full season with the team. That alone is a strength the Heat can use going forward.
Second, Tyler Johnson, a Summer League tryout from 2014 just received a multi-year $50 million dollar offer from the Nets. Another instance of the Heat finding and developing talent other teams passed on.
Third, both of their draft picks from 2015 developed into solid enough rotation players to help Miami reach the third seed in the East and a game away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Both promising players did this after only one season in the NBA and they have yet to reach their full potential.
Fourth, their Sioux Falls Skyforce D-League team won a record 46 games and the current Summer League squad crushed their competition in the first three games. The Heat coaching staff has done an outstanding job in taking young players and molding them into winners on the fly.
Fifth, Dwyane Wade delivered on his promise to have the Heat to stay relevant this year.
Sixth, Miami was one of only six teams Durant considered joining after a strong season in which they returned to the playoffs after missing out last year. That itself speaks volumes that the Heat are still considered a destination franchise by most coveted free agents on the market.
Before making trades just because they can, Miami should reflect on how well did with their homegrown players, who signed for pennies on the dollar. Whiteside and Tyler are prime examples of a process that can be duplicated again and again.
Udonis Haslem, Juwan Howard, and Dan Craig form an exceptionally gifted group of veteran mentors and coaches, whom the Heat never collectively had before. They proved an ability to nurture raw talents into NBA starters. The current scouting and development staff shouldn't be taken for granted, because last season's results with the youth were extraordinary.
Many say trade for this or that player. Perhaps it's time to cool things down and think about the situation in a deliberate manner before making ill-advised moves, which could backfire later down the road.
Stick with what works. The answer may lie under Miami Heat's feet in their own acres of diamonds.