Updates from Wednesday, July 30
The Heat announced Chris Bosh has re-signed with the team:
Pat Riley spoke about Bosh in the team's statement:
“Chris Bosh is a two-time NBA champion and one of the most versatile big men in the league,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “His unique skillset makes him one of the best players in the game today. I’ve always felt he was committed to this organization, this staff and this city. I think he’s going to have the opportunity of a lifetime leading this team next season and having the nine-time NBA All-Star back in the fold was a big key for us. We are very blessed to have him.”
Updates from Monday, July 14
CSNHouston.com's Adam Wexler reports on how close the Rockets felt they were to landing Chris Bosh:
"We had the offer out there to Chris (Bosh), it looked extremely likely that he was going to take it,"-@dmorey on 790— AdamWexlerCSN (@awexler) July 14, 2014
Chris Bosh explained his decision to re-sign with the Miami Heat during a phone interview with ESPN.com over the weekend, per ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh:
[There were] very enticing offers. There was some surprising advances made in everything, but I ultimately decided to stay in Miami. I think it was the right choice. I benefit from it, the team will benefit from it, from here. My heart was in Miami. I wanted to be there and keep my family there and build relationships and really keep building on something special.
I think right now we have the correct infrastructure to compete for a championship. We have to get much better at certain positions, and there's a bunch of things that have to continue to happen. But you know a team like the Spurs, they had a lot of guys that people underestimate, but as a team, they were outstanding.
Chris Bosh said he was willing to take a pay cut to stay and play with LeBron James in Miami. Then the four-time MVP shook the NBA to its core by returning to Cleveland—leaving Bosh a wide-open max salary slot to stay with the Heat.
And Bosh took it. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has details of the reported deal that will keep the star in Miami:
Chris Bosh is finalizing an agreement to return to Miami on a five-year, $118M deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2014
Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post provides Bosh's agents comments on why the Heat star remained in Miami:
Bosh's agent says he stayed in Miami because he "believes in the entire organization." Here's the full quote: pic.twitter.com/F8PxAMfmwP— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) July 12, 2014
Bosh himself announced the deal on Saturday:
Bosh and the Heat agreeing on a new contract continues what has been a cascade of movement across the NBA. James announced his decision to return to the Cavaliers on Friday in a first-person piece published by Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated.
The move culminated more than a week of speculation about James' destination and left Bosh and his representation to kick it into high gear. The Rockets, pursuing Bosh heavily as the LeBron situation played itself out, did likewise. They shipped Jeremy Lin to the Lakers and Omer Asik to the Pelicans to open up enough cap space to sign Bosh.
With Houston having only until July 13 to complete its trades, sign Bosh and then match the Mavericks' offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, the deal felt like a high-wire act that could fall apart at any moment.
The Heat had one push of their own left, though, pitching Bosh on making it work with Dwyane Wade and giving them a chance to retool. Within hours of James' decision to bolt, Bosh affirmed his commitment to stay.
When James, Wade and Bosh exercised their early-termination options—each leaving $40-plus million on the table—most expected all three to return. There was speculation that the trio planned to opt out together so Wade and Bosh could take pay cuts, allowing Pat Riley to retool around a core that started to show its cracks.
As the situation stayed dormant throughout the NBA moratorium and into Friday, it became clear that this wasn't a cogent plan. Multiple teams reached out to Bosh as a contingency plan in case James bolted. While Bosh was willing to take a pay cut to keep chasing championships in South Beach, it quickly became apparent he was getting a max deal.
Bosh, vastly underrated throughout the Big Three era, may start getting the recognition he deserves. Over the past four seasons, he's revamped his game around stretching the floor and working hard on the defensive end. He averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds on 51.6 percent shooting this past season, including a passable 33.9 percent clip from beyond the arc.
His rebounding and scoring have gone down in every season with the Heat, though that's more a product of decreased playing time and Erik Spoelstra's system. Of course, The Heat will want to see more consistency. Bosh was only intermittently effective against the Spurs in the NBA Finals, averaging 14.0 points and 5.2 rebounds while floating in and out of games.
If Bosh leaves, the Spurs can say they crumbled the Heat near-dynasty.— Shandel Richardson (@ShandelRich) July 11, 2014
"I don't think anybody really enjoyed this season like in years past," Bosh told reporters. "There was no, like, genuine joy all the time. It seemed like work. It was a job the whole year. Winning was just a relief. Losing was a cloud over us sometimes, and then we'd break out of it—and then go right back. But we got here. We had a chance. They were just better."
Bosh wanted to continue playing with James, so his departure won't do anything to increase the fun quotient in the locker room. But Wade is still an All-Star caliber player, Spoelstra is among a handful of the league's best coaches and Riley has rebuilt from worse. If Bosh is as truly happy in Miami as he's said, then his return makes sense.
Competing for championships, however, will be a whole lot harder. The Heat have limited cap room with Bosh and the assumed return of Wade. Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, who both agreed to sign with the Heat, can be flexed into available space, but that still leaves limited room. Barring a sign-and-trade—one sending James to Cleveland for a trade exception or one involving another star—it will be difficult to add another star.
With two rings on his fingers, Bosh can afford to choose happiness over surrounding stars. It'll be interesting to see if he made the right decision.
Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.