Chris Bosh

Lakers Notes: James, Bosh, Noel

LeBron James‘ 2018 free agency was always a two-horse race between the Lakers and Cavaliers, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said on SportsCenter, noting that the meeting with the Sixers earlier today was a mere courtesy.

The decision to move to Los Angeles had been in the back of James’ mind for a while now, leaving the Lakers in the driver’s seat for the past three weeks with little left to do but not blow it.

In the television interview, Windhorst spoke of the exodus of the King’s staffers, who relocated from Miami to the west coast during James’ second stint with the Cavaliers, and the fact that his wife has been looking at Los Angeles schools for the past year.

With James already in hand, Magic Johnson simply had to close the deal and, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne adds, was actually at James’ residence when free agency officially began.

There’s more out of Los Angeles tonight:

  • One name to keep an eye on as a potential Lakers addition is free agent big man Chris Bosh, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. Bosh played alongside James for four years in Miami but has been out of the game since February, 2016 after being diagnosed with life-threatening blood clots. A comeback would require some additional paperwork but a successful return would not impact the Heat’s payroll.
  • There’s a chance that Brook Lopez ends up back in Los Angeles now that much of the team’s available cap space has been tied up in James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. Lopez was under contract for $22MM with the Lakers in 2017/18 and averaged 13.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
  • The Lakers are one of three teams that Nerlens Noel has narrowed his free agency decision down to, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. Noel is represented by Rich Paul, the same agent that represents James and Caldwell-Pope. The Wizards and Thunder are the other two teams on Noel’s short list.

Pat Riley Fumed, Then Realized LeBron ‘Did Right Thing’

Heat president Pat Riley was furious when LeBron James bolted Miami and returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 but now feels James ‘did the right thing.’ That’s one of the revelations by Riley to author Ian Thomsen in his new book “The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown between LeBron, Kobe, Doc and Dirk that Saved the NBA” which was excerpted in a Jackie MacMullen story for ESPN.

Riley came to that conclusion slowly, as he fumed for months over James’ decision to go back to Cleveland. He ultimately understood that James would never be truly accepted in his home state again unless he won a championship there.

“My beautiful plan all of a sudden came crashing down,” Riley told Thomsen. “That team in ten years could have won five or six championships. But I get it. I get the whole chronicle of [LeBron’s] life. While there may have been some carnage always left behind when he made these kinds of moves, in Cleveland and also in Miami, he did the right thing.”

Other notable revelations in the interview included:

  • James hinted early in his first Heat season during a meeting among Riley and the Big Three of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and James that he wanted Riley to return to coaching and replace Erik Spoelstra“I remember LeBron looking at me, and he said, ‘Don’t you ever get the itch?’ I said, ‘The itch for what?’ He said, ‘The itch to coach again?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t have the itch.’ He didn’t ask any more questions, and I didn’t offer any more answers. But I know what it meant, and I always go back and wonder about what he was thinking at that time. “
  • The public outcry after James’ announcement that he would be “taking my talents to South Beach” shook up James when he headed to Miami.  “That night at three in the morning we met him at the airport. … They got off the plane, and I remember walking right up to LeBron. He was worn-out. He was just worn-out. He almost had tears in his eyes.”
  • Riley had no contact with James until Game 7 the 2016 NBA Finals, when Riley texted him. “As soon as he hit the floor, I sent a text to him. I said, ‘Win this and be free.’ He never got back to me with a response.” Riley and James continue to be at odds, according to MacMullen.

And-Ones: Francis, Doncic, Bosh, G League, Officials

In a powerful piece for the The Players’ Tribune, former NBA player Steve Francis opens up about his life before stardom, growing up in the streets of Washington D.C., where his mother died when Francis was only 18 years old and his father was locked up in federal prison for a robbery conviction.

“Four years before I was on that plane with Hakeem telling me we’re going shopping for cashmere suits together — four years before I was about to go play against Gary Payton — I was on the corner of Maple Ave in Takoma Park, Maryland, selling drugs outside the Chinese joint.”

“My mother had passed away. My father was in a federal penitentiary. We had 18 people living in one apartment. I had dropped out of high school. No scholarships. No GED. No nothing.”

From his respect for legend Hakeem Olajuwon to his interactions with Sam Cassell and Payton, Francis opens up about life beyond basketball as well as the lessons he took away from his time in the NBA and the unlikely route he took to get there.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Slovenian Basketball Federation, via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, is reporting that top 2018 NBA Draft prospect Luka Doncic is expected to miss two weeks of action with a thigh injury.
  • In another moving piece, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN writes that former All-Star and NBA champion Chris Bosh is still hoping for a return to the NBA and, perhaps more importantly, searching for the feeling he once had when he was playing the game he loved. “I would love,” Bosh says, “to experience that feeling one more time.”
  • The NBA still has some ground to cover in its efforts to make the G League a true “minor league” alternative to college basketball, opines Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
  • Despite ongoing efforts to mend the ever-widening gap between players and officials, at least one NBA player feels the tensions are still an issue, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Honestly the game is not about the players and the refs,” said Wizards forward Markieff Morris.“We’re playing for the fans, so we’re trying to clean up a whole lot. It’s at an all-time high right now.”
  • LeBron James‘ free agency destination list is reportedly down to four teams. Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today take a look at the best situations for James from a pure basketball perspective, concentrating on the four aforementioned teams – the Cavaliers, Lakers, Rockets, and Sixers – as well as two others – the Clippers and Spurs.

Chris Bosh Still Hoping For NBA Comeback

1:03pm: ESPN has now posted a lengthier video of today’s First Take discussion with Bosh, which includes the former Heat and Raptors star addressing concerns about his health.

“Medicine is like law, I’ve come to find out,” Bosh said. “It’s a very gray area. Some people say yes, some people say no. Usually it’s about what the majority agrees to, and sometimes it’ll take somebody to have some revolutionary plan or something like that. I’m not going to be in a position where I’m risking my life, so if I ever get back on the court like that and people are worried, it’s not going to be a life-risking situation.”

Asked later in the discussion whether he hopes to make a comeback in 2018/19, Bosh said he hasn’t closed the door on returning this season. He also identified the Warriors, Rockets, and Raptors as teams that would interest him, and didn’t rule out the Cavaliers either.

11:57am: It has now been more than two years since Chris Bosh last played an NBA game, but the 11-time All-Star still hasn’t given up on the idea of resuming his playing career. Appearing on First Take (video link), Bosh told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith today that he’s still making an effort to return to the NBA.

“I’ve been in the gym. I can still play basketball,” Bosh said.No, I’m not done yet.”

Joking that he can’t call it a career when he sees how many current players are getting by shooting three-pointers and not playing defense, Bosh repeated a sentiment that he has expressed several times since his medical retirement. As recently as November, the former Heat star said he was keeping his options open as a player.

Although Bosh is still physically able to play basketball, concerns about his history of blood clots have made him medically ineligible to return to an NBA team. Doctors and teams have been unwilling to risk those blood clotting issues resurfacing.

Bosh last appeared in the NBA in 2015/16 for the Heat, averaging 19.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 53 games and earning an All-Star nod. He played his last game on February 9, 2016.

Heat Notes: Bosh, Spoelstra, Winslow

The Heat experienced some déjà vu during their game against the Nets in Mexico City on Saturday as former champion Chris Bosh was in attendance for the team’s 101-89 victory. It was a welcome sight for many of Bosh’s former teammates and coaches, including Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel writes.

“We’ve been in touch. He looks good,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “His family, his kids are doing well. I love CB. He’s Heat family for life but man it’s strange. You see him and it’s like you go back to 2012 just like that. You realize how fast times goes by in this league.”

Bosh has not played in nearly two seasons after his issue with blood clots was ruled career-ending following a medical review by the NBA and the players’ union earlier this year. Bosh reached a unique agreement with the Heat in July where his salary would longer count against the team’s salary cap after he was waived.

We noted last month that Bosh was “keeping his options open” regarding his future as an active player. However, given his medical complications, it remains a longshot that an NBA team will give him a chance to resume his career.

Check out other Heat news below:

  • Also from the Sun Sentinel’s Shandel Richardson, Heat forward Justise Winslow has taken a demotion to the bench in stride and is finding success in that role. “I didn’t really take it as a bad thing or a good thing,” Winslow said. “For me, I just see it as an opportunity to be even more of a playmaker with that second group especially with the great spot up shooters we have in Wayne [Ellington] and Tyler [Johnson].”
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that Erik Spoelstra thrives under stability with the Heat, something David Fizdale and other recently dismissed coaches have not been afforded. Spoelstra has been the head coach in Miami through the era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh, and in recent years during a rebuilding stage. He feels that teams will need patience to compete and that stability with coaches is critical.

Chris Bosh Planning To ‘Keep Options Open’ As Player

Two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh, who has not played since the 2015/16 season due to issues with blood clots, has not ruled out continuing his career as a player, he said during an interview with NBA TV. Bosh said he would stay active in basketball while all but ruling out a position as a coach.

“Probably not coaching. It’s always very interesting. I’m always going to be around the game of basketball,” Bosh said (via Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel). “I plan to keep my options open as a player moving forward, but that’s not coaching. Maybe front office work, working with teams and spreading the game, maybe teaching the game to young people, that’s something that’s a very big passion.”

After Bosh, 33, made a surprise appearance as a guest at a Lakers practice last month, it was reported that he did not rule a possible comeback to the NBA.

Bosh reached a unique agreement with the Heat in July where his salary would longer count against the team’s salary cap after he was waived. Bosh’s blood clots were ruled career-ending following a medical review by the NBA and the players’ union the month prior. After not playing the past two seasons due to the blood clot condition, it was widely believed that the 11-time NBA All-Star would not play again.

“I don’t see how medical people will want to sign off and clear him,” a Western Conference executive said to TNT’s David Aldridge earlier this year about the unlikely nature of a comeback. “Unless something has changed with his health recently … I don’t know of a team that would want to take that type of a risk. If something were to tragically happen, it’s hard to recover from that. Very unfortunate.”

In his last season, Bosh was still a productive player, posting 19.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 53 games for the Heat.

Heat Notes: Haslem, Bosh, Hammons, Lineup

Longtime Heat big man Udonis Haslem is back in Miami for his 15th season with the team this year, but he admits that at one point this offseason he was unsure whether he’d re-sign with the Heat. As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald details, Haslem received interest from Cleveland in July and acknowledges that he considered signing with the Cavaliers.

“I got an interesting call from Cleveland,” Haslem said. “My son is out there [as a student and football player] at the University of Toledo in Ohio. It was something to consider.”

Although Haslem never paid a visit to the Cavs, his agent Leon Rose spoke to team management, writes Jackson. Ultimately though, Haslem decided that it wouldn’t make sense for him to leave the Heat at this point in his career, suggesting that he can’t imagine playing for another team — even one that now features his former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade.

“It would have been funny [with Wade there], but I don’t regret the decision I made,” Haslem said. “I’m where I’m supposed to be, I’m where I need to be. I’m where I’m most effective, even though it’s not on the basketball court, I would like to think I impact this organization, this team just by bringing my presence and everything else.”

Here’s more on the Heat from Jackson:

  • Associates of Chris Bosh, who appeared at Lakers practice this week as a guest of his former agent Rob Pelinka, say the veteran big man hasn’t ruled out the idea of an NBA comeback, despite his blood clot issues. If Bosh were to make an NBA return, his salary wouldn’t go back on the Heat’s cap, Jackson notes.
  • Although A.J. Hammons has a guaranteed salary, his spot on the 15-man regular season roster isn’t necessarily a lock, in Jackson’s view. Hammons, who will be out for a week with the flu, has the advantage over camp invitee Matt Williams due to his guaranteed contract, but he was essentially a throw-in in the Josh McRoberts trade with Dallas, so if Williams proves more deserving of that roster spot, the Heat will face a difficult decision.
  • Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is interested in seeing Hassan Whiteside play alongside free agent addition Kelly Olynyk during the preseason, believing that their skill sets complement one another, says Jackson.
  • In the battle for the Heat’s starting small forward job, Josh Richardson isn’t concerned about whether or not he starts, but Rodney McGruder said that being in the starting lineup would be important to him, according to Jackson. “Who wouldn’t want to start in the NBA?” McGruder said. “It’s fun starting.”

Southeast Notes: Wall, Porter, Bosh, Muscala, Riley, Ellington

Wizards star point guard John Wall is making no apologies for his aggressive recruitment of Paul George during free agency, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Many observers took Wall’s comments as a slight against the team’s current small forward Otto Porter, but Wall explained his comments in a different way:

“Otto’s going to be a great player for us, a great role player for a lot of teams. There’s a difference between a role player and a superstar. It’s a big difference. There’s a lot teams that will make a lot of trades for a superstar. Look at Kevin Love getting traded for Andrew Wiggins, you never know who that player going to turn out to be.”

Buckner also points out that Wall is not in a rush regarding his own extension. Last season Wall qualified for the designated player exception after making the All-NBA third team. Wall maintained that he’s devoted to the city of Washington and plans to carefully consider whether he wishes to remain a Wizard in the long term. An extension could keep Wall in the District for the next six years.

Here’s what else you should know from the Southeast division:

  • Former Heat star Chris Bosh penned an open letter to the city of Miami, thanking its residents for the past seven years of support. The 33-year-old power forward credited Miamians for showing him “how to stay strong and push through in the toughest moments,” which has “made [him] a better man, the person [he is] today.” In the letter, Bosh did not broach the topics of his current health or his future plans.
  • Hawks big man Mike Muscala viewed his return to Atlanta as a “no-brainer,” writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Last week, Muscala agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract to remain with the Hawks.
  • Heat president Pat Riley opined on various Heat players, with his comments about Wayne Ellington particularly effusive: “It would have killed me to see him go. He committed himself unlike anybody else. And just like James Johnson and Dion [Waiters], changed everything about how he played…And he’s so in, so committed, and he can see what did for himself with our help, and how it improved his game. He’s one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the league.” Riley goes on to mention that the team has Early Bird Rights on Ellington and credits the player’s loss of 20 pounds with yielding many benefits on the court. Ellington’s $6.3MM contract was guaranteed on Friday.

Heat Officially Waive Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh‘s salary will officially no longer count against the Heat’s salary cap going forward, with the team announcing today in a press release that Bosh has been waived. The move formally brings an end to Bosh’s seven-year stint with the franchise.Chris Bosh vertical

“Chris changed his life and basketball career when he came to Miami,” team president Pat Riley said in a statement. “And he changed our lives for the better, in a way we never would have imagined, when he joined the Miami Heat. We will forever be indebted to CB for how he changed this team and led us to four trips to the NBA Finals and two NBA Championships. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise.

“The number ‘1’ will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters,” Riley continued. “Today, we are both moving on but we wish Chris, Adrienne and their family nothing but the best. They will forever be part of the Miami Heat family.”

As we detailed last month when an independent doctor ruled Bosh’s blood-clot issues to be career-ending, he will no longer count against the Heat’s salary cap due to his medical retirement designation. That clears more than $52MM in total salary from the team’s books for the next two years, including $25.3MM+ in 2017/18. Miami will still have to pay Bosh his remaining salary, though the team figures to recoup a significant chunk of that money through insurance.

It’s possible Bosh will attempt a comeback at some point, though NBA executives are skeptical about the odds of that. If his NBA career is officially over, the 33-year-old will finish with averages of 19.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG over 893 total games with the Raptors and Heat (14 total seasons, including 2016/17). Bosh was named to 11 All-Star teams and won two championships over the course of his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Porter, Bogdanovic, Isaac, Bosh

The Kings’ decision to use a major part of their cap space on George Hill and Zach Randolph leaves the Nets as the most significant threat for Wizards RFA Otto Porter, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Porter met with the Kings on Sunday and reportedly received a max offer, but didn’t sign it, wanting to talk to other teams first. Sacramento’s moves today means it no longer has room for a max deal unless it unloads some other salary. The Wizards can match any offer sheet that Porter brings to them, and have stated that they plan to do so.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards plan to explore sign-and-trade options for Bojan Bogdanovic, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic appears to be on the way out after this week’s deals with Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott, but Washington won’t revoke his $4.7MM qualifying offer, hoping to deal him and create a traded player exception. Bogdanovic is reportedly seeking about $16MM per year, which seems unrealistic. Michael notes that the Wizards have made use of TPEs in the recent years, picking up Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries and Tim Frazier.
  • The Magic will hold first-round pick Jonathan Isaac out of the final two games of the Orlando Pro Summer League after he suffered a hip strain Monday, relays John Denton of NBA.com. Tests didn’t reveal any structural damage and the injury isn’t considered serious, but the Magic are keeping him sidelined as a precaution.
  • In a move to free up cap space, the Magic have reached an agreement with 2005 first-rounder Fran Vazquez that he won’t play in the NBA this season, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Orlando still owns the rights for the 34-year-old, and the move takes away his cap hold for the upcoming season.
  • The Heat are expected to end their seven-year relationship with Chris Bosh this week, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami will erase Bosh’s $52.1MM from its cap under a medical retirement in the wake of recurring blood clots. Bosh must be given 48 hours to clear waivers before the move becomes official, and it will push the Heat’s cap space from $9MM to more than $34MM this year.