10:54am: Bosh said at a shootaround today that he’s definitely coming back to the Heat next season, Lieser tweets.
12:43am: Chris Bosh said in an appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio that he wants to remain with the Heat and is willing to do so at less than the maximum salary if necessary, notes Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. Bosh has an early termination option worth $20.59MM for next season, and he can opt out and sign a new contract that guarantees more salary over the long term than called for in his current deal, which covers two more seasons.
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to go anywhere,” Bosh said. “I like it here. It’s Miami. Everybody wants to come here. Yeah.”
The news contradicts at least part of a February report suggesting that Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade weren’t interested in agreeing to discounts on their next deals, as all three did when they signed with the Heat in 2010. It also seems to run counter to rumors earlier this year that painted Bosh as the most likely of the Heat’s trio of stars to leave Miami. More recently, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com wrote that it would take a “dream scenario” for James to sign elsewhere this summer. While that coupled with Wade’s career-long connection to Miami may still make Bosh more open to leaving that his other All-Star teammates, it nonetheless seems unlikely that Bosh would depart. That’s in spite of his apparent interest in the Lakers, which L.A. reciprocates.
Bosh might view the Lakers not as a destination for this summer but as a landing spot if he chooses to leave the Heat farther into the future, though that’s just my speculation. The Henry Thomas client might be able to make more money next season if he opts in than if he were to become a free agent this summer, even if he signed a new max deal. That’s because the salary he’d make next year on his existing deal represents a more than 10% raise on his pay this season, and he’d be limited to no more than a 5% raise if he becomes a free agent, unless the maximum salary for a player of his experience exceeds that amount. It won’t be clear just how high that max, which was $19,181,750 this past season, will climb until after the July Moratorium, past the deadline for Bosh to decide on that option.
He’d have to opt out to give the Heat a discount, and he said today that he’d take less “if that’s what it takes.” It’s conceivable that Heat president Pat Riley will appeal to his stars to take less this summer to alleviate the club’s heavy tax burden, as Miami would have to pay crippling repeat-offender tax rates if it winds up above the tax line again next season. Cheaper deals for Bosh, James and Wade would also allow the team greater flexibility to add talent to an aging roster.