The Miami HEAT’s summer, in many ways, was a prelude to the future and an unexpected departure from the past. The team locked up future building blocks Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson to new multi-year deals, but lost part of their past with future Hall of Fame guard Dwyane Wade bolting to Chicago in free agency. Just over two months later, nearing training camp, the team announced All-Star forward Chris Bosh failed a physical. A few days later, the franchise publicly admitted Bosh’s tenure with the organization is likely over.
Wade’s departure came down to perceived disrespect during contract negotiations, while Bosh’s tenure in Miami is up in the air due to a recurring medical condition. Bosh has had his last two seasons cut short around the All-Star break due to a blood clot diagnosis. According to multiple reports, the second blood clot diagnosis this past February led Miami team doctors to inform the forward his professional playing career was likely over.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward James Jones played six seasons in Miami, from 2008 to 2014, and won two championships with the franchise alongside Bosh and Wade. The veteran was shocked by the latest developments in Miami – specifically that Bosh or Wade won’t be in a HEAT uniform this season.
Jones says he has talked with Bosh since the failed physical and is totally confident the 11-time All-Star will eventually be cleared to play the game he loves at a high level.
“Chris will play again,” Jones confidently told Basketball Insiders. “I’ve always said there’s something about that group in Miami. Every single guy down there, in a unique fashion, had overbearing, overwhelming desire to succeed. We did some special things down there namely because those guys (Wade and Bosh) willed their way to it.
“From a health perspective, I know [Chris] will do everything in his power and medicine these days is amazing. He’ll find a way to get back. No way will he allow the game to be taken away from him for a medical reason. But like always, he’s methodical, he’s very very patient and he’ll figure it out. We’re all pulling for him because this is a brotherhood. Not only because this is the NBA but by playing on a team like that, it’s a brotherhood, and you always want to see your brother’s dreams and legacies fulfilled.”
For now, optimism aside, Bosh is playing the waiting game. The veteran is under contract through 2019 and is owed $76 million – all of which is guaranteed. But Miami may be able to generate some financial freedom from Bosh’s deal. With this coming February marking a full calendar year since the second blood clot diagnosis, the HEAT can begin to take steps in order to remove Bosh from the salary cap. Insurance would then cover a large amount of the remaining money owed on the deal. Bosh could then become a free agent and attempt to get medically cleared by another franchise. Of course, Bosh could become a free agent sooner if the veteran negotiates a buyout for significantly less money, which isn’t likely.
To his credit, Bosh has been reluctant to give life to any notion that his career may be over in a series of taped video interviews on uninterrupted.com.
“I want to tell Miami, everybody in Miami, this not how I planned it to be,” Bosh said in episode four of the taped video series. “They don’t want to hear Dwyane’s gone. They don’t want to hear, ‘Oh, yeah, Chris is never going to play for the Miami Heat again.’ I just feel for the fans. I wanted to give them more. I wanted to give them something better. Because they deserve better than what they’re getting right now.”
Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.