Fi­nally, farewell: Chris Bosh, Mi­ami Heat for­mally part ways

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Chris Bosh’s time with the Mi­ami Heat is of­fi­cially over. Weeks af­ter the sides came to a fi­nal agree­ment on how to part ways and more than a year since his last NBA ap­pear­ance be­cause of blood-clot is­sues, Bosh was waived by the Heat on Tues­day. The move was a for­mal­ity.

It gives Mi­ami ac­cess to $25.3 mil­lion in salary-cap space for this com­ing sea­son, which the Heat will use to sign free agents start­ing to­day. Bosh still gets that salary, plus $26.8 mil­lion for next sea­son, and in the­ory could con­tinue his ca­reer - if an­other team de­clares him fit to play.

It’s un­known if that will hap­pen. But at least there’s fi­nally clo­sure on his Mi­ami era, and the Heat an­nounced his No. 1 jer­sey has been re­tired. “Chris changed his life and bas­ket­ball ca­reer when he came to Mi­ami,” Heat Pres­i­dent Pat Ri­ley said. “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.” Bosh signed a five-year deal to stay with the Heat in 2014, shortly af­ter LeBron James left Mi­ami for a re­turn to Cleve­land. James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade went to the NBA Fi­nals in all four of their sea­sons to­gether in Mi­ami, winning ti­tles in 2012 and 2013.

Bosh’s last Mi­ami deal was worth $118 mil­lion. For that, he was only able to play in 97 games. “You al­ways want what’s best for Chris, what­ever that is,” Heat cap­tain Udo­nis Haslem said ear­lier this year. “I know how dif­fi­cult this has been for him.”

On Tues­day, af­ter the news broke, many play­ers - James and Wade in­cluded - tweeted out their well-wishes to Bosh. “An un­be­liev­able team­mate and one of the best dudes out there,” wrote former Heat for­ward Mike Miller, a part of Mi­ami’s 2012 and 2013 ti­tle teams. “Thank you for the 2 rings.”

Bosh ap­peared in 44 games in 201415, his sea­son end­ing at the All-Star break when the first known clot episode started. A year later, he played in 53 games and - in an eerie sim­i­lar­ity his sea­son again ended at All-Star week­end, when an­other clot was found shortly af­ter he landed in Toronto for the 2016 All-Star Game.

Bosh hasn’t played since, miss­ing Mi­ami’s last 125 games. “I’m kind of get­ting the taste of re­tire­ment now,” Bosh said in Jan­uary. He wanted to re­turn last sea­son, but failed a pre­sea­son phys­i­cal and the Heat made clear that they were mov­ing on with­out him in their plans. Be­cause of the sen­si­tiv­ity of Bosh’s med­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, the Heat never could pro­vide specifics - un­der league rule, any mat­ter that would rise to the level of be­ing pos­si­bly life-threat­en­ing can­not be dis­cussed openly by teams with­out the player’s con­sent.

Even the team’s re­lease on Tues­day an­nounc­ing the waiv­ing made no ref­er­ence to Bosh’s health is­sues, or sta­tus. Bosh has played in 13 NBA sea­sons, seven with Toronto and then six with Mi­ami. He was part of Mi­ami’s mas­sive free-agent haul in 2010, when the Heat not only kept Wade but landed James to form some­thing that Ri­ley felt could turn into some­thing dy­nas­tic.

Bosh had a huge role in per­haps the big­gest play in team his­tory - with Mi­ami down by three late in a win-orelse Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Fi­nals against San An­to­nio, he grabbed an of­fen­sive re­bound and tossed the ball to Ray Allen to set up a cor­ner 3pointer that tied the game with 5.2 sec­onds left.

The Heat would win that game in over­time, with Bosh block­ing a shot by Danny Green as time ex­pired, and then would pre­vail in Game 7 for the third ti­tle in fran­chise his­tory.

Bosh, a cer­tain fu­ture mem­ber of the Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame, has av­er­aged 19.2 points and 8.5 re­bounds in his ca­reer. “We can’t wait to some­day hang his jer­sey in the rafters,” Ri­ley said. “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.” — AP

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