Veteran Heat big man Chris Bosh has signed on with TNT as a studio analyst, the network announced on Thursday. As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel details, Bosh will appear on TNT for five consecutive Mondays as an analyst, starting next week.
“We’re thrilled to have Chris make appearances with our Players Only studio team and we look forward to incorporating his fresh take and informed perspective into this new TNT series,” said Turner Sports executive VP Craig Barry in a statement. “Chris is still deeply connected with today’s NBA players and his insights into the game will further enhance the experience for our viewers.”
Bosh’s work for TNT is the strongest signal to date that his efforts to return to the court will be put on hold. Having missed more than a year due to blood-clot issues, Bosh hasn’t given up on the idea of making a comeback, but if it happens, it appears it won’t happen this season, given his new TV commitment.
As Winderman writes, the Heat have contended that Bosh’s health concerns make him medically unfit to continue his playing career. The team is expected to move forward in the coming weeks with the process of removing his contract from its cap — a doctor jointly approved by the NBA and the NBPA would have to rule Bosh medically unfit to play for the Heat to remove that salary. In that scenario, Bosh would still be paid the rest of the money left on his deal, but Miami would open up a significant chunk of cap room for the next few seasons.
Bosh currently isn’t in basketball shape, and suggested in a January interview with The Associated Press that he’s “getting the taste of retirement,” so there’s no guarantee he renews his comeback efforts next season. The 32-year-old did hire a new agent – Rob Pelinka – in 2016, but Pelinka’s ability to find Bosh opportunities outside of basketball was one factor in that decision. Of course, with Pelinka set to become the new Lakers GM, he will no longer be able to represent Bosh.
- Within his latest rumor notebook for HoopsHype, Alex Kennedy writes that rival executives believe Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor is much more likely to be moved at the deadline than Nets center Brook Lopez. Kennedy notes that Okafor has received interest from the Kings, while Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer says the Lakers could be in the mix for Okafor. In a non-trade item, Kennedy also adds the Heat to the list of potential suitors for veteran free agent Larry Sanders.
The Lakers are looking to trade Nick Young with an eye on acquiring a second-round pick, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. Young is making slightly over $5.44MM this season and his contract contains a player option worth nearly $5.67MM for the 2017/18 campaign. He’s had a solid year so far in Los Angeles, averaging 13.8 points per game while shooting 41.3% from behind the arc, a figure which is the highest of his career.
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Heat are shopping Wayne Ellington and Josh McRoberts, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical (Twitter link). Mannix notes that the team would like to get out of the veterans’ contracts. After this season, Ellington has only one year at $6.27MM (non-guaranteed) remaining on his contract, while McRoberts has a player option worth slightly over $6MM remaining on his deal.
- Earlier today, we learned that the Bulls have attempted to send Nikola Mirotic to the Sixers in a Jahlil Okafor deal. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune notes that the team has also floated Mirotic in talks with the Clippers.
- David Stockton, who recently played in New Zealand’s National Basketball League, will return to the D-League and play for the Reno Bighorns, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back (Twitter link).
The Wizards may not be finished dealing after a multi-player trade with the Nets this afternoon, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Washington will continue to look for help through Thursday’s trade deadline at 3 p.m. Eastern. Today’s deal, which sent Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and this year’s first-rounder to Brooklyn in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, clears cap space to help the Wizards re-sign Otto Porter this summer, notes David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link). Nicholson, who had fallen out of the rotation in Washington, still has three seasons and nearly $20MM left on his contract.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Bogdanovic has a 15% trade kicker, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). That amounts to $157K, which Brooklyn will pay, but his cap hit for the Wizards is now $3.73MM.
- The Heat will avoid any deadline moves that would tie up their future cap space, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That makes them unlikely to pursue the Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler or the Nets’ Trevor Booker, who both have contracts that extend beyond this season. Jackson cites a rival GM who has spoken to Miami about a deal and believes “they seem content to stand pat.”
- Miami expects to have Josh Richardson back in the lineup for Friday’s game, according to a tweet from the team. A foot injury has kept him out of the lineup since January 8th. “He’s had a healthy approach the last 4-5 weeks to prepare,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. Justise Winslow won’t be back this season, but he is making progress from shoulder surgery, the Heat noted (Twitter link), as his sling has been removed.
- Hornets center Miles Plumlee will be out of action for at least two weeks with a right calf strain, the team posted on its website. An MRI revealed the second-degree strain, and Plumlee will be re-evaluated in 14 days. He has played just five games for Charlotte since being acquired from the Bucks in a February 2nd trade.
- Despite a 21-37 record, the Magic have no plans to tank the rest of the season, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando is currently fourth in our Reverse Standings and would have an 11.9% chance of winning the lottery. Coach Frank Vogel believes it would be a mistake to try to improve those odds by losing on purpose. “As a coach, you worry about one thing, and that’s getting a group of guys that haven’t won in five years to learn how to win,” Vogel said. “That’s more important than any one player you can add.”
The NBA second half won’t get underway until Thursday, but with NBA and D-League teams returning from their respective All-Star breaks, assignments and recalls have gotten underway again. Here are Tuesday’s moves:
- The Jazz have recalled Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars following his participation in the weekend’s D-League All-Star game, per a team release. The rookie forward averaged 15.8 PPG and 13.2 RPG in 18 first-half NBADL games.
- Briante Weber has been recalled to the Warriors from Santa Cruz after playing in the D-League All-Star game, Golden State announced in a press release. Weber is still on his second 10-day contract with the Dubs, though the team could waive him at the trade deadline if it needs to open up that 15th roster spot.
- One other D-League All-Star is back with his NBA team, as the Heat confirmed that they’ve recalled Okaro White. White has been with the Heat since mid-January, but his early-season play with the Sioux Falls Skyforce earned him a spot in the D-League All-Star Game.
- The Nuggets have sent 2016 first-rounder Malik Beasley back to the D-League, the team announced in a press release. It’s the third assignment this season for Beasley, who will head to Sioux Falls and join Miami’s affiliate, since Denver doesn’t yet have a D-League team of its own.
- The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet to the D-League, according to the team (Twitter link). Caboclo and VanVleet have gone back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all year, but it’s Siakam’s first assignment.
- Rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer have been re-assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets announced today (via Twitter).
- The Trail Blazers have assigned rookie guard Tim Quarterman to the D-League, according to a press release from the team. Quarterman joined the Windy City Bulls in his previous two NBADL stints via the flexible assignment rule, but will head to the Long Island Nets this time around.
The Heat’s recent hot streak hasn’t changed the fact that this will be a crucial summer for the organization, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Miami won 14 of its last 16 games before the All-Star break to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. But Winderman says team president Pat Riley will have bigger issues than the postseason to consider when he decides what moves to make before Thursday’s trade deadline. The Heat will probably enter the offseason with Chris Bosh‘s salary-cap space reclaimed and with the knowledge that Tyler Johnson‘s cap hit will balloon from $5.9MM next season to $19.2MM in 2018/19. That creates a sense of urgency for a big move this summer. Miami will also have its draft pick this season, although the team appears out of the running for a top choice, but two of the next four Heat first-rounders belong to the Suns from the Goran Dragic trade.
There’s more this morning out of Miami:
- Dragic, who once seemed a likely trade candidate because of his contract and the Heat’s poor record, has become indispensable as a team leader, Winderman writes in a separate piece. With Miami contending for a playoff spot, Dragic’s salary of more than $54MM over the next three seasons doesn’t seem nearly as oppressive. “Winning means something to him,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. “And that’s where you start with leadership, is bringing other people with you to make winning that important. And it’s uncomfortable for the majority of leaders, to take that first step. And that’s where he’s been very open to his growth.”
- The Heat are focused on making the playoffs and are more likely to be buyers than sellers as the deadline approaches, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.
- Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald asked two Eastern Conference scouts to rate Miami’s roster. They believe Dion Waiters will get offers of $10MM to $12MM per year when he hits free agency this summer, James Johnson is better than anyone believed and will probably get at least $10MM per year as a free agent and Tyler Johnson’s production is warranting the four-year, $50MM offer that the Heat matched last summer.
The 6-5 shooting guard signed with Miami on February 8th after the Heat were granted a hardship exception. The league approved the exception because Miami had four players — Chris Bosh, Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts and Josh Richardson — sidelined by long-term injuries. However, Richardson is expected to return after the All-Star break, so the team no longer qualifies for an extra roster spot.
The exception could be granted again if another player suffers an injury that will keep him out at least two weeks. The Heat could also open a roster spot via trade before Thursday’s deadline or by waiving Bosh, who hasn’t played all season because of ongoing problems with blood clots. Bosh has been out of action for more than a year, so Miami can seek a medical retirement at any time, but the Heat are expected to wait until after March 1st so Bosh won’t be eligible for the playoffs with another organization.
Georges-Hunt didn’t see any court time during his 10 days with Miami. He was sent to the Heat’s affiliate in Sioux Falls on Thursday so he would be eligible for today’s D-League All-Star Game, where he had eight points and four assists.
Hunt went undrafted in 2016 after four years at Georgia Tech. He signed with the Celtics in August, but was waived before the start of the season.
Pat Riley has to do more than just appease paying customers, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, the team president needs to steward the future of the Heat franchise. That means, despite the 13-game win streak that has suddenly put Miami within striking distance of the playoffs, the club would be wise to approach the February 23 trade deadline with caution.
This summer will be a pivotal one for the Heat, Winderman writes, citing things like Chris Bosh‘s contract situation and the fact that the club has already traded two of the club’s next four first-rounders as reasons why they ought to be smart about how they structure the team heading forward. The draft matters now more than ever, he adds, suggesting that hasty moves to load up on short-term assets this week would only hurt their 2017 draft position.
Winderman notes that the camaraderie in the Heat locker room is similar to that of the upstart 2004/05 Heat team anchored by a rookie Dwyane Wade, Lamar Odom and Caron Butler. That team started slow but rallied to become a playoff team. Tellingly, it wasn’t long after the turnaround when Riley opted to cash in his chips in the blockbuster deal that netted Shaquille O’Neal.
- It wasn’t long ago when Heat forwards Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson appeared to be reasonably untouchable, writes Ira Winderman in a separate piece for the Sun Sentinel, but Miami’s recent improvement may have altered that. Now that the club isn’t in position to land a Top 3 pick, Winderman says, the club might consider holding onto Goran Dragic more than anybody else.
Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wondered if Shane Battier, recently hired as the Heat‘s Director of Basketball Development and Analytics, will eventually assume leadership of the franchise from Pat Riley. For the interim, Winderman writes, Battier’s position will be the “first step” toward a post-Riley front office. Battier will work alongside Andy Elisburg and Nick Arison, executives with an advanced “business-of-basketball” acumen. While there is no reason to believe Riley is ready to step away from the game, Winderman could see Riley moving into a role similar to Jerry West’s with the Lakers; an executive board member who isn’t accountable for mundane, day-to-day front office operations.
More from around the Southeast…
- Jared Dudley of the Suns stuck up for his former teammate, claiming Bradley Beal was snubbed of an All-Star roster spot. “The @NBA tells us players that winning matters! Wizards are the hottest team in the NBA! Bradley Beal is healthy and balling!”, Dudley tweeted on Thursday. (Twitter link) Keely Diven of CSN Mid-Atlantic argued that Carmelo Anthony received the All-Star nod due to his ability to attract media attention. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today gave further insight to ‘Melo’s selection, noting that Anthony received more votes from coaches than Beal.
- Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders described it as “a little obvious” that Serge Ibaka did not bond with his teammates in Orlando. Ibaka, who was dealt to Toronto on February 14, didn’t mesh with the playing styles of Orlando’s younger players (Twitter link). By Kyler’s account, it seems that Ibaka’s teammates “had real issues” with the 27-year-old, and welcomed a change.
- Terrence Ross told Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders that he embraced the “fresh start” in Orlando. “I was kind of aware that something could have been happening before the deadline so it wasn’t too shocking,” Ross said. “At the same time, being drafted to a team and playing for one team, it’s a little different, but I’m enjoying the process. It’s a good opportunity. It’s a new fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to it. I just kind of hope we can bring some of that experience I got in Toronto and bring it here, and really just helping wherever I can.” Ross, who has averaged 10.4 points through 54 games in 2016/17, is in the first season of a three-year, $31.5MM contract.
- Jason Smith will likely see a dip in minutes as the Wizards ease Ian Mahinmi into the lineup, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes. Smith, who has averaged 7.8 points with 4.8 rebounds over his last six games, has been a serviceable back-up to starter Marcin Gortat. “What he’s [Smith] done the last two or three months is what he’s done his entire career and he’s been terrific,” said Coach Scott Brooks. “But if you have a good team, everybody’s going to have to sacrifice. It’s not just Jason, starters are going to have to sacrifice.”