Pat Riley Comments on Chris Bosh's Status for 2016-17 Season

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 17, 2016

Miami Heat president Pat Riley gestures as he talks to reporters during a news conference, Thursday, July 9, 2015, in Miami. Goran Dragic has signed his five-year deal with the Miami Heat. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Associated Press

Miami Heat president Pat Riley held a press conference Saturday in which he touched on the precarious future of star forward Chris Bosh's career.

A recurring blood clot, which prevented Bosh from appearing in the second half of the season and the playoffs, has cast doubt as to whether he can play basketball anymore. Riley addressed Bosh's outlook regarding the 2016-17 season, per the Palm Beach Post's Jason Lieser:

It’s a positive environment right now with Chris, and I think his doctors and our doctors are constantly communicating. I know what Chris wants. I know he wants to play. Obviously, we would be open to that.

But this is still a very fluid situation. On this day, there's not an answer. I wish I could give you one. Let's just let this process move on down the road and go from there.

Lieser noted long flights and the traveling demands that accompany an NBA schedule can be "problematic" for Bosh. Riley addressed that element of the situation, too:

I think all those things will come into play and there'll be a discussion. There are many players in different sports that do play with that condition, and they're on-and-off programs with blood thinners and stuff. But I think when it comes down to a final protocol, or a formula for how this has to be done, then that's what we'll deal with.

Bosh has missed the second half of each of the past two seasons because of blood-clot issues. The Heat still managed to advance to the second round of the postseason without him last year, but they then proceeded to lose longtime face of the franchise Dwyane Wade to the Chicago Bulls in free agency.

Even without Wade in the fold, Riley has built a solid squad in Miami in the post-LeBron James era. Unfortunately, it hasn't been able to fully realize its potential because of Bosh's medical issues.

"From a basketball standpoint, I've been told we're sort of put on hold here," Riley said, per Lieser. "We know what Chris is capable of and...you just never know what you could have done as a team. That's what kills me. That we put together a good team right after (LeBron James) left, but we never had an opportunity to see it as its full."

Bosh's ability to shoot from three-point range, create off the dribble and function as a center in smaller lineups makes him a prototypical big man for the modern NBA. He's played well over the past two seasons when healthy, having averaged 20.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during that span.

The Heat have an exceptional center in Hassan Whiteside, who's an elite shot-blocker and is only beginning to unlock his potential. Dynamic perimeter players such as floor general Goran Dragic and forward Justise Winslow provide the Heat with plenty of athleticism and firepower as well.

But Bosh is the X-factor who could be the difference between Miami being an also-ran playoff team and a conference finalist.

The scrutiny regarding Riley's inability to retain Wade this summer will only increase if the Heat don't have a strong 2016-17 campaign. How well Miami fares will be largely tied to Bosh, who's due more than $23.7 million in salary this coming season, per Spotrac, and has two additional years left on his contract.

Although he's still capable of playing at a high level, Bosh's blood-clot issues have complicated how Riley and Co. can build Miami's roster and muddies the forecast for the Heat's collective upside.

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