Miami Heat

Pat Riley: Chris Bosh’s Career With Heat Likely Over

Although Chris Bosh pledged this weekend to continue working toward a comeback after his latest health setback, it doesn’t appear as though he’ll return to the Heat. Team president Pat Riley said today that the Heat are no longer anticipating Bosh to get back on the court for the franchise, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I think Chris is still open-minded. But we are not working toward his return,” Riley said. “We feel that, based on the last exam, that his Heat career is probably over.”

Asked whether or not he feels that Bosh’s NBA career is also over, Riley suggested “that’s up to him,” according to Winderman. The veteran big man has had to deal with blood-clotting issues and failed a recent physical with the Heat, whose doctors weren’t comfortable clearing him to play.

Riley and Bosh’s camp have disagreed on how much support the team has provided the 11-time All-Star as he has dealt with his health issues. While Riley says the Heat have worked hard to help Bosh get back on the court, Bosh’s camp says he received little help from the team, and had to find his own doctor to get a program that would allow him to play, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter links). Riley and Bosh reportedly haven’t spoken in months — Riley said today that he has reached out to Bosh, but didn’t receive a reply, tweets Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald.

“His health, playing and economics — it’s been health, health, health,” Riley said today. “Whatever the cap ramifications are, they are there, but we never ever thought about that. … Contrary to how this thing has been perpetuated in the media, we have worked very, very hard with Chris. We headed down the road very excited to a point where we thought it would work. And then the physical couldn’t clear him to the next step.”

The Heat would have multiple options to increase their cap flexibility if Bosh is unable to return to the court this year. Miami could apply for a disabled player exception worth about $5.6MM that would allow the team to sign or trade a player for no more than that amount. Alternately, as of February 9, the club could potentially remove Bosh’s remaining cap hits from its books if a doctor jointly approved by the NBA and the NBPA rules him medically unable to return.

Eastern Notes: Wade, Young, Siakam, Wright

Now that the shock waves have died down over his move from Miami to Chicago, Dwyane Wade wants to prove he can still be an elite player in a new environment, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. After a contract standoff with the Heat, Wade surprised the NBA in July by agreeing to a two-year, $47MM deal with the Bulls. When Chicago opens camp this week, it will be the first time Wade has been with a team other than Miami in his 13-year career. “When I don’t have anything else left to prove, then I don’t need to play the game of basketball,” Wade said. “I want to prove I’m out of my comfort zone. I’m in a totally different environment, a totally different system. This is a challenge for me, at this stage of my career. Leave it up to me to put myself in a challenge and not just fade to black in the comfortableness of Miami.”

There’s more tonight from the Eastern Conference:

  • James Young is ready to battle for a roster spot as the Celtics open camp, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston has 16 players with guaranteed contracts, and the competition for the final slot is expected to come down to Young, second-year guard R.J. Hunter and rookie forward Ben Bentil. Young, a 6’6″ shooting guard, has been with the Celtics for two seasons but has played in just a combined 60 games. He will make more than $1.8MM this season, but may be in the organization’s dog house after being benched during summer league for his poor play. “I’m not thinking about contracts or the next year,” Young said. “I’m just staying in the present right now, gotten a lot better, still getting better. And there’s a lot better for me to come, so I’m not even thinking about the future, who they got coming up or what’s going on. I’m staying right here in the present.”
  • Rookie forward Pascal Siakam will be ready when the Raptors open training camp on Monday, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Siakam, the 27th pick in this year’s draft, suffered a left MCL sprain in summer league and missed all but one game. Wolstat adds that Delon Wright, the 20th pick in the draft, is making progress but won’t return to action for a while. Wright had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder August 1st and was expected to need at least four months to recover.

Heat Notes: Dragic, Bosh, Babbitt

Goran Dragic, who was excited to be teamed with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh when he was swapped to the Heat at the 2014 trade deadline, may finish his career in Miami without either one, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Wade signed with the Bulls over the summer and Bosh faces an uncertain medical future after failing his training camp physical. That leaves Dragic as the team’s new leader, and he says he wants to embrace that role. “When you have D-Wade next to you, or C.B., then they can take the game in their hands immediately,” Dragic said. “Now, probably it’s going to be a little bit different. I’m ready. I already felt great last year at the end of the season.” Dragic has four seasons and more than $70MM left on his contract.

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • Miami has the option to apply for a Disabled Player Exception if its medical staff decides Bosh can’t play this season, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. If an NBA-designated doctor agrees, the Heat would receive a $5.6MM exception that they can use until March 10th. The exception can be used to sign a free agent to a one-year contract or acquire a player with one season left on his current deal, either through trade or waivers. The Heat have 15 players with guaranteed contracts, including Bosh, so a roster spot would have to be cleared before the DPE could be used. However, the Heat may be looking to get the rest of Bosh’s remaining salary removed from their cap, which they can’t do if they use this exception.
  • Luke Babbitt may have changed teams, but his role will be the same, Winderman writes in a separate piece. Babbitt, who was acquired in a July trade with New Orleans, was used as a stretch four with the Pelicans to create room in the paint for Anthony Davis. With the Heat, he expects to create room for Hassan Whiteside and driving lanes for Dragic. “That’s what NBA offense is, is spacing,” Babbitt said. “So to give guys, to maximize those guys, Hassan, Goran, to open up driving lanes, you have to have people to space it out that can shoot, that’s the way the league is going now.” Babbitt, who just re-signed with the Pelicans last summer, said the trade caught him by surprise. “I didn’t really know it was coming,” he said. “But once I got the news, mentally it just totally shifted over and I was excited. I had a good couple of years in New Orleans, but with this kind of rebuilding group I feel like I kind of fit with what we’re trying to do here.”

Chris Bosh Pledges “Everything Will Work Out”

Heat forward Chris Bosh, who failed his most recent physical and was not cleared by team doctors to participate in training camp, vowed to continue his attempt to make it back to the court, Brian Windhorst of ESPN relays. Speaking in a videotaped segment published online, Bosh called the news “a down moment right now,” while pledging that everything would work out.

I had the intention of releasing Episode 2 of ‘Uninterrupted: Bosh Rebuilt’ today under the assumption I would be cleared to go for camp,” Bosh said in the video. “Unfortunately that is not the case. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to share my creative side with you guys and hoping that you want to come along on the journey with me. Just because the journey has ups and downs doesn’t mean I will stop sharing with you guys. So I will just continue to share despite what’s going on.

Little setbacks happen. But that doesn’t change my intentions and what I want to accomplish,” Bosh continued. “So I hope you continue to watch. I hope you continue to just take in my journey and just come along with me with the ups and downs. So it’s a down moment right now, but everything’s going to be all right.”

This statement from Bosh seems to indicate that he currently doesn’t intend to retire, which leaves the Heat in a difficult spot. Miami currently has 15 players under contract with fully guaranteed deals, including Bosh. If Bosh is unwilling to retire, the team will either be forced to retain Bosh, thus losing a valuable regular season roster spot and hurting its depth, or to waive the player and eat the cap hit. The 32-year-old is set to earn $23,741,060 this season, $25,289,390 in 2017/18 and $26,837,720 the following year, which is the final one in his current deal.

The Heat’s most recent exams discovered “evidence of some continued clotting,” which is thought to be related to one of the previous blood clot episodes that sidelined Bosh for parts of the last two seasons. The clotting complication isn’t viewed as life-threatening, but it will require medication, and the club doesn’t consider it realistic for Bosh to get back on the court and play in his current condition, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported on Friday.

The primary deadline to keep an eye on regarding Bosh and Miami’s salary cap is February 9th, 2017. If Bosh has been unable to play for Miami by that date, and a doctor jointly approved by the NBA and the Players’ Association rules him medically unable to return, the Heat could remove his current and future cap hits from their books, creating significant cap space. However, if the team made that move and Bosh was eventually cleared to return, he wouldn’t be able to rejoin the Heat. Though, the two sides’ relationship could turn openly contentious by that point and neither party may have interest in a reunion anyway.

Heat Sign Keith Benson

4:01pm: Benson’s deal is partially guaranteed, international journalist David Pick tweets.

3:43pm: The Heat have officially signed unrestricted free agent Keith Benson, the team announced. The length and terms of the deal were not relayed, but it is likely a minimum-salary arrangement that may include a small partial guarantee. The addition of Benson gives Miami 20 players on its preseason roster, including Chris Bosh, who reportedly failed his most recent physical exam and has not been cleared by the team to participate in training camp. The Heat will need to cut down the roster to 15 players by the start of the regular season, per league rules.

The center spent last season playing for the Heat’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, making 49 appearances and averaging 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and shooting 57.3% from the field in 23.8 minutes per outing. Benson made the D-League All-Star team and was a big part of the Skyforce’s D-League title run in 2015/16. He averaged 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.14 blocks and 17.8 minutes while shooting 59.2% during the postseason.

The 28-year-old has appeared in a total of three career NBA regular season games, all with Golden State, totaling three rebounds in nine minutes of action and has spent time playing professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy and the Philippines. Benson was drafted No. 48 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Hawks.

Chris Bosh Suffers Setback, Not Cleared By Heat

11:54am: In the wake of Bosh’s latest setback, the Heat “increasingly believe” that his career with the team is over, says Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Wojnarowski adds that Bosh hasn’t wanted to speak to team president Pat Riley “for months.”

11:08am: Chris Bosh has failed his physical exam with the Heat and has not been cleared by the team to participate in training camp, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (via Twitter). The Heat confirmed the news in a press release. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, a “complication” arose during the team’s medical tests on Bosh, derailing his attempted comeback for the time being.

As Jackson details, the Heat’s exams discovered “evidence of some continued clotting,” which is thought to be related to one of the previous blood clot episodes that sidelined Bosh for parts of the last two seasons. The clotting complication isn’t viewed as life-threatening, but it will require medication, and the club doesn’t consider it realistic for Bosh to get back on the court and play in his current condition.

Bosh has long been optimistic that he’ll get back in uniform for the Heat this season, and the team had become increasingly hopeful that he would be cleared for camp — there was a growing belief that the veteran big man could potentially play during the regular season, despite taking blood-thinning medication. However, Bosh’s return was always contingent on him passing several medical tests before training camp, and being cleared by Heat doctors. That hasn’t happened.

According to Jackson, it’s not yet clear whether Bosh will continue pushing to return. In the short term, amidst this week’s setback, he’s not expected to file a grievance with the players’ union.

While we wait to see what the next step is for Bosh and the Heat, a February 9 deadline looms for salary-cap reasons. If Bosh has been unable to play for Miami by that date, and a doctor jointly approved by the NBA and the Players’ Association rules him medically unable to return, the Heat could remove his current and future cap hits from their books, creating significant cap space. However, if the team made that move and Bosh was eventually cleared to return, he wouldn’t be able to rejoin the Heat.

Nevada Smith Hired As D-League Coach

  • Nevada Smith has been named head coach of the Heat’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports. Smith previously coached the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers for two seasons. Former Heat point guard Anthony Carter will join Smith’s staff. Former Skyforce Dan Craig has joined Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s staff along with Octavio De La Grana, who served as a Skyforce assistant coach last year.
  • The Heat’s decision on whether Chris Bosh will be cleared to play is not a function of the salary cap, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun-Sentinel writes. Bosh, who has been diagnosed with blood clots in his leg the past two seasons, must be cleared by medical personnel and the rules of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement have to be followed, Winderman continues. Neither the team nor the players’ union will draw a line in the sand over one player, especially when either could opt out of the CBA as early as mid-December, Winderman adds.

Latest On Chris Bosh Playing For The Heat

A second blood clot was discovered in Chris Bosh‘s leg last season, leading team doctors to tell him that his career was likely over. However, the 32-year-old has been fighting the diagnosis since last winter, as Bosh discusses in a documentary on Uninterrupted.com (h/t to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com).

“[The Heat’s doctors] told me that my season is over, my career is probably over and this just happens, this is just how it is,” Bosh said. “I felt right away that I was written off. It was [claps his hands together] put it to the side matter-of-factly. If a doctor tells me, ‘Hey that’s it and this is how that is,’ and I don’t buy that. I have the right to disagree with you.” 

Bosh firmly believes he has the ability to play again. “It wasn’t a matter of if I play again; it was when. So we took the bull by the horns,” he said. Last week, Bosh said that he has not yet been cleared by team doctors, but he has reportedly consulted numerous physicians for opinions on treatment and he believes he has found a medication regimen that will allow him to play. The team has not addressed Bosh’s statements.

Sources tell Windhorst that the Heat are not yet comfortable with clearing him to play long-term. If Bosh is not cleared by the team to play this season, he is expected to take the issue to the NBA Players Association, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Bosh has three years and about $75.9MM left on his contract. His salary is guaranteed, but that figure could possibly come off of Miami’s future cap sheet if an independent doctor rules that he has become disabled. The team would not be eligible for cap relief during the 2017/18 campaign if he plays in more than nine games during this upcoming season.

According to one source, the team has “more optimism” that Bosh could play again at this point than it had at any point last year. Miami plans on welcoming him to join the team in training camp. Still, Bosh doesn’t consider his situation with the team resolved, Windhorst hears. Sources told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com that there is no timetable for a resolution.

Windhorst describes the situation between Bosh and the team as “somewhat of a standoff” since the spring. Toward the end of last season, Bosh announced through his own public relations firm that he was planning on returning to the court. Ultimately, the player’s union pressured the two sides to meet and find a resolution. The two parties decided that Bosh would be declared out for the year and they would reassess the situation prior to training camp.

The Heat will open training camp on September 27th. The power forward is expected to partake in a Facebook live chat with Maverick Carter on Wednesday. Be sure to check Hoops Rumors for the latest on Bosh’s status with the team.

Udonis Haslem Hopes To Play With Wade Again

As we noted earlier today, Dwyane Wade admitted on Saturday morning that the one think he’ll miss most about playing for the Heat is his longtime teammate Udonis Haslem. Per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, that feeling is mutual. Haslem referred to Wade as “family,” adding that he’ll support him “through thick and thin.”

Haslem and Wade have been teammates in Miami since the 2003/04 season, but with Wade having signed in Chicago earlier this summer, they’ll be opponents in 2016/17. Still, both players can hit the free agent market again next year, and they likely won’t retire quite yet, so there’s a realistic chance of a reunion at some point, as Haslem told Jackson.

“I’m going to damn sure try,” Haslem said, when asked about the possibility of potentially finishing his career alongside Wade. “I mean, I don’t know. I guess I’ve got to wait until next summer to see how that goes. But, I never give up without a fight. So there’s ain’t no time to start now.”

While Wade heads to Chicago, Haslem is preparing to enter his 14th season with the Heat, and while he’d like to reunite with Wade eventually, he may not want to leave Miami to do so. “I was thinking more him of him coming here,” Haslem said. “I never said [I’d leave the Heat]. I won’t ever say that. When I said play with him again, I never said leave.”

The idea of Wade eventually returning to South Beach for one final season with Haslem may appeal to the 36-year-old big man and to many Heat fans, but as Jackson observes, it’s not clear how realistic that scenario is. Heat president Pat Riley and Wade didn’t part on the best of terms, having still not communicated with one another since the former Finals MVP left the Heat more than two months ago.

Heat Notes: Wade, Haslem, Offseason, Bosh

For the first time since 2003, Dwyane Wade will begin training camp this month with a team besides the Heat. Asked what he’ll miss the most now that he’s no longer playing in Miami, Wade said that he’ll miss longtime teammate Udonis Haslem, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter). Like Wade, Haslem joined the franchise for the 2003/04 season and has been in South Beach ever since — of course, unlike Wade, Haslem re-signed with the Heat this summer.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • As Bobby Marks of The Vertical details in his rundown of the Heat’s offseason, the team was forced to use nearly $20MM in cap room during a tight window after losing Wade in early July, since that space wouldn’t have been available if the team had matched Tyler Johnson‘s offer sheet first. The result? A handful of short-term deals that essentially serve as placeholders while the club retools.
  • Within a mailbag this week for the Sun Sentinel, Winderman discusses the short- and long-term outlooks for Chris Bosh and Haslem, who may have coaching in his future. Winderman also tackled more Bosh-related concerns and addressed LeBron James‘ lingering influence in Miami in a separate mailbag.
  • In another Sun Sentinel piece, Winderman examines the Heat’s current roster and their departed veterans in a player-by-player breakdown.

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