MIAMI: All-Star center Chris Bosh informed the Miami Heat on Sunday that he will exercise an early termination clause in his contract, following teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade into free agency.
Bosh’s expected decision comes five days after James declined his player option, with Wade following suit on Saturday, when forward Udonis Haslem also elected to become a free agent.
While the move gives other NBA teams a tantalizing chance to try to woo Miami’s stars, it also gives the Heat a massive $55 million in salary cap space going into the free agent signing period that begins July 1.
That might let the Heat add another established name, and still re-sign James, Wade and Bosh.
Both Wade and Bosh have publicly said they are open to taking a pay cut in order to keep James while bolstering the team.
The Heat have reached the NBA Finals in all four seasons since Bosh and James both joined the team as free agents in the summer of 2010.
After falling to Dallas in the subsequent season, the Heat captured back-to-back titles before falling in five games to the San Antonio Spurs in this season’s championship finals.
Bosh again played a major part in the latest run, averaging 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds over 79 regular-season games.
“Chris is one of the most versatile and dynamic big men in this league, and he has been an instrumental key to our championship success over the last four seasons,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement.
“We look forward to meeting with Chris and his agent in the coming days to discuss keeping him in Miami for many years to come.”