There is no longer bitterness between Chris Bosh and the Pat Riley driven Miami Heat. The truce comes at the right time of the year. The Heat are forging ahead with plans to rebuild their franchise. This is year three post LeBron James and the catastrophe of the 2014 NBA Finals that precipitated The Chosen One to run, not walk, all the way back home. So a page has definitely been turned and it’s a good thing the Heat didn’t make the playoffs in 2017. That would have prolonged the inevitable, whether it is acquiring Blake Griffin (please not Rudy Gay) and getting young talent in the draft, skilled wings that are shot makers or mining through the free agent want ads. But Chris Bosh is the elephant in the room. His contract certainly is.
There is no going back but what if Pat Riley had not panicked and not offered Bosh the max once LeBron oh so publically defected. What if Bosh was playing in Houston and the Heat didn’t have to worry about his drain on the cap. It’s a what if that makes your brain hurt. It’s not worth picking apart the past.
The Heat gave Bosh $118 million that raised eyebrows at the time. That kind of money means impact player in last two minutes and that was never the Bosh identity. There was a reason he was third option behind James and Miami icon Dwyane Wade.
Now that the Heat have mended faces, it is time to extricate themselves from a deal that is inhibiting them from going forward.
The salary cap is perfectly designed. It’s intention was to keep big market teams like the Lakers, Bulls and Knicks from buying the best players and trotting out an All-Star team. It’s success lies upon its strategy. Be careful who you give max money to. Make sure they can earn it. Bosh, a hero in the 2013 playoffs in game 6, will forever be adored by Miami. But now, this is the business part.
In the new CBA (July 1st) an injured player who a team thinks is unable to continue his career has his case heard by a fitness panel. No longer does a single physician decide his fate. The panel includes three physicians, one of which is appointed by the NBA, one who is appointed by the Players Association, and the third is agreed to by both.
The panel can (may) agree that Bosh is unfit to play. Then, he would not be able to present his case in front of the panel until the first day of the 2018 season or nine months after the date when his case was first heard, whichever is the later date.
If the panel rules against Bosh, the Heat can then remove his salary from the cap without any ramifications. But this is what is complicated. Because the new CBA doesn’t start until July 1st, the panel cannot be gathered until then. Free agency begins on the same date although players will not be able to sign contracts until July 6th.
The Bosh case has to be heard and adjudicated before it is cleared from the books. Cleared from the books, the Heat have a max contract to offer. But will it be too late by then. Doctors, committees, panels (see the Obamacare debate) moves like syrup down a hill. Can the Heat get it done in two days? Will free agents wait? Since this is the first time this has been done, will there by kinks to work out. And do the doctors examine Bosh himself or are they just looking at medical records? There is a big unknown and the timing can put the Heat out of the Blake Griffin sweepstakes. They may not have a verdict until mid to late July. The Heat still benefit with cap space but the free agents they want may be gone.
Which may be a good thing. Paul George is unrestricted in 2018 and so is Russell Westbrook, if he doesn’t sign an extension this summer. Going on a spending spree post-Bosh excommunication may not be the way to rebuild.
The Heat showed what they could do with less. Not getting duped into huge contracts (Dion Waiters, James Johnson) and Bosh off the books, plus waiting, may be the jolt of energy the Heat need to get back to where they were in 2013.
photo via llananba