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.