LeBron James shook the sports world by announcing to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated that he wanted to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While this seemed to be the beginning of a mass exodus out of Miami, the other two parts of the Big Three decided to stay right where they were.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo was the first to report on Bosh's deal:
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
The Heat released a statement from Pat Riley on Instagram:
Dwyane has been the franchise cornerstone for this team since the day he arrived 11 years ago. He has shown his commitment to the HEAT many times over the course of his career and has always been willing to sacrifice in order to help build this team into a champion. This time is no different. I am ecstatic to have him back in the fold and I am confident that Dwyane, as always, will be leading this team as we look to contend for NBA Championships.” - Pat Riley
This was a bit of a surprising move considering he seemed likely to head to the Houston Rockets. However, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel noted some of the reasons why he would return to the Heat:
Bosh loves Miami, appreciates Spoelstra's approach, could now get to show full extent of his game.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) July 11, 2014
On the other hand, ESPN's Bomani Jones also points out how James' departure cleared up space for Bosh to get a bit of a pay raise in Miami. The ability to sign a max contract likely made a difference in this situation:
think about the bad news/good news bosh got. bron’s leaving…but here’s $30 million more. after that, what the hell is a lebron?— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) July 11, 2014
Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal points out that this will lead to a different type of performance from the forward than what we have seen lately:
Fan in me would love to have see Bosh in HOU, where hed be a perfect fit. But it'll be great to see him as a No. 1 option again. Deserves it— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) July 11, 2014
Bosh averaged a solid 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds this past season as a secondary option behind James. Of course, this is a far cry from his 24 points and 10.8 rebounds that he averaged during the 2009-10 season, his last year with the Toronto Raptors.
Bleacher Report's Ethan J. Skolnick points out that head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to make adjustments to accommodate his new best player:
Now it's time for Erik Spoelstra to open up the playbook for Bosh. He's capable of much more.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 11, 2014
Of course, Bosh's return brings even more optimism to the Heat considering that Dwyane Wade will be back.
Eventually, Wade did decide to return to the Heat on a long-term deal, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst on Tuesday:
As implied by Dwyane Wade's tweet, his new deal with Heat has been finalized and he expects to sign as soon as today, sources told ESPN— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 15, 2014
Wade also hinted at the deal before the announcement on his Instagram account, saying: "Home Is Where The Heart Is... My Home,My City,My House..#HeatLifer."
Arash Markazi of ESPN notes that this will create drama in the Eastern Conference, which the NBA is certain to take advantage of this season:
If Bosh and Wade stay, you can pencil in Miami v. Cleveland for Christmas Day.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 11, 2014
Josh Eberley of Dime Magazine noted that Wade ultimately belonged in Miami:
For better or for worse Dwyane Wade belongs in Miami. It would've been incredibly weird seeing him anywhere else.— Josh Eberley (@JoshEberley) July 15, 2014
As long as Wade is in a Miami uniform when you hear his name you'll still think of "flash", of the 2006 Finals, of his best days.— Josh Eberley (@JoshEberley) July 15, 2014
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press provided his thoughts on Wade's decision:
To recap, whatever the final number is for this season (still chasing), Dwyane Wade did right by the Heat again.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) July 15, 2014
The Cavaliers will likely be the team to beat in the conference, but no one should count out the Heat in this upcoming season. There is a lot of experience on this roster with plenty of talent that should be among the best in the league.
Even without James, the lineup of Wade, Bosh and others will present quite a challenge to anyone they play. Bosh and Wade are both talented and experienced veterans, and having them back in Miami will definitely help ease the pain of James' loss among the fanbase.
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