Why Heat Fans May Be Forced to Root Against a Chris Bosh Comeback

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As expected, the battle between the Miami Heat and Chris Bosh is getting uglier by the day.

Bosh, 32, has been diagnosed with blood clots multiple times over the past two years. Although he’s attempted to come back, Heat president Pat Riley has advised against it and notoriously said the team wasn’t working toward the forward’s return before training camp started in September.

Since then, a variety of conflicting reports have surfaced, making Bosh’s future very unpredictable. Both sides are reportedly willing to move on, with Bosh looking to play elsewhere and the Heat looking to get him off its books.

The veteran is expected to come off Miami’s cap soon after Feb. 9, which would take away $25.3 million next season and $26.8 million in 2018-19, though he would still be paid everything he’s owed thanks to mostly insurance. For this to unfold, a doctor selected by the league and union have to determine that his condition is career-threatening or severe enough to put him at risk if he plays, which appears likely.

However, the current labor agreement is written in such a way that the Heat must root against a Bosh comeback if they want financial flexibility over the next few seasons.

To understand this better, the Miami Herald’s longtime sports writer Barry Jackson laid out a few scenarios and implications of the Bosh ordeal that could transpire next year:

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“So let’s fast forward to this scenario: A) The Heat uses the $42 million in cap space it’s projected to have next summer, after Bosh is removed from the cap and B) Bosh returns with another team in 2017-18. (This season would not be especially likely.) Once he plays in his 25th game with another team, his salary cap hit goes back on Miami’s cap.”

The Heat obviously will want to use its cap space to acquire star free agents; however, if Bosh does play in his 25th game with another team, as stated above, the salary cap hit will painfully go back on Miami’s cap.

Jackson goes on to say:

“The good news: Larry Coon and Nate Duncan tell me that even if Miami is capped out at the time, it would not be required to shave $25.3 million off its team payroll (and get back under the cap) after Bosh plays his 25th game for another team.

“The bad news: As Coon and Duncan explain, if the Heat is already capped out at that point, that would result in a $65 million luxury tax bill for Miami, unless the Heat frantically shed tons of salary in trades.”

It’s clear that Bosh wants to come back and play in the NBA. However, if he manages to play more than 25 games elsewhere, this could cause difficulty in luring high-profile players to the Heat, with the team’s cap space suffocated for the next couple of seasons.

It does appear Heat fans will have to root against the two-time champion making an NBA return if they want to watch entertaining, competitive basketball in the coming seasons.
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Born and raised in South Florida, Justin has always been a passionate Miami Heat fan. An avid supporter from the time Miami got its first championship in 2006 to having a league-worst 15-67 record in 2008 to the whole LeBron James era until now, Justin has seen and stuck through it all. His all-around analysis and heart for the game has made him a premier NBA writer. He writes for a variety of sites but his commitment to the Heat is always top priority.