Eleven-time All Star center Chris Bosh still wants to play basketball but it looks like Miami Heat are no longer pushing for his return. In fact, the Heat may even be rooting for him not to return to the court given the salary cap implications and the flexibility that it would give the team.
Bosh has been sidelined over the past couple of seasons due to blood clots in his lungs and his leg. Doctors fear that his blood clots and the side effects of blood-thinning medication could lead to serious complications if he were injured on the court.
He wasn’t cleared to play in a pre-season check-up and his career is now in limbo. Based on NBA rules, if Bosh doesn’t return on the court before February 9, 2017, an independent doctor could be brought in to decide with finality whether he can return or not. Once its determined that Bosh cannot continue, he faces medical retirement. Still, he will still be paid his full contract which amounts to nearly $24 million for 2016-2017. After this season, he will still be owed around $50 million next season and in 2018-2019.
Medical retirement for Bosh means that the Heat takes out his substantial salary off their cap space and they can go on a full rebuild. The Heat are struggling this season after the loss of LeBron James last year and Dywane Wade this year. They have no pieces to trade and Bosh’s salary means they are capped out. The Heat can do a lot of moves without Bosh’s salary of $24 million this season.
If the Heat waive Bosh and he plays for another team for at least 25 games, Bosh’s salary will remain with the team (charged to their salary cap), which means that they will have to carry that and have nothing to show for it. Bosh represents a get out of jail card for the Heat.
At 32 years old, Bosh is past his prime but he still has a lot of basketball left in him. Last season, he averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds on 47% shooting. When healthy, he was still considered one of the best centers in the league.
Presently, we are just waiting for what the Heat will actually do. Either waive him or keep him until the deadline so another doctor could say yes or no.
For the Heat, there is no incentive for Bosh to return. The team is slowly spiraling downward and they need the cap space from Bosh so as not to fall to irrelevance.
This is a sad situation for Chris Bosh who is still hoping against hope that he can return. Sadder still for his fans who have come to love his athleticism, his work ethic, and quiet demeanor.