We wrote last December about the limbo in which Chris Bosh was entangled; he wanted to return to the court, but the Miami Heat and the league as a whole were hesitant to clear him to do so given his history of blood clots.
Obviously that puts Bosh in a bit of limbo. He could try to work under the old rules, attempting to force the Heat into trading or waiving him, and then taking his chances on being cleared by another franchise. Or he could take a gamble on the new system, which could find in his favor and guarantee his reentry into the league. But, as Beck notes, the downside to the new protocol is binding, and could mean the end of his playing days.
Bosh apparently wants to play, and seems willing to do whatever is necessary to get back onto the court, though he could very well be risking his life to do so. The Heat have to act as an employer, in this case, with all the liability that entails. It’s incredibly complex, and everyone’s interests are aligned in some ways, and divergent in others.
Bosh hasn’t played an NBA minute since February of 2016, but he hasn’t completely ruled out a return. And now all four parties involved have apparently come to an agreement that on its face sounds like the best possible result, given the challenging and unique circumstances, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Chris Bosh has told family members that an agreement has been struck among the NBA, the Heat, the union and himself for Bosh to part ways with the Heat at some point in the coming weeks, with the Heat receiving maximum cap relief, an NBA-employed source said in early May and reiterated Tuesday.
…But the source who’s associated with an NBA team reiterated on that day, and again on Tuesday, that Bosh has told people a verbal agreement is in place and he’s happy with the outcome. The agreement has reached the highest level of the league’s office, according to the source.
That’s very interesting, as it’s apparently going to require a bit of an exception relative to the prior CBA. The sticking point, as you probably guessed, was money, and how much of Bosh’s salary would continue to be carried on the Heat’s salary cap. It would only matter if Bosh wanted to return to playing, obviously; a retirement is a retirement. But if he does come back, the Heat could have ended up on the hook for a salary cap issue. That shouldn’t be the case any longer:
The Heat is optimistic that because of a change in the labor agreement, its parting with Bosh not only would clear his $25.3 million salary off next year’s cap, but would permanently remove his $52.1 million in remaining salary from the cap even if he resumes his career elsewhere.
Before a change in the new labor agreement, there had been a risk of Bosh’s salary returning to the Heat’s cap if he played 25 games with another team. The Heat is optimistic that will not be the case because of a change in the new labor deal, which allows for a medical panel to rule that Bosh would be at risk if he resumes his career.
That labor panel element is key, as it seems to be in essence an acknowledgment of Bosh’s situation, and the language that adds it to the CBA has apparently added some leeway for Bosh, the Heat, the league, and the union to invent a workaround. Jackson adds some speculation that if Bosh were to make a comeback attempt, the Lakers are a logical fit, as Bosh spends offseason months in LA, and his former agent Rob Pelinka is the new Lakers GM.
But that’s still in the future; Bosh’s medical concerns are sadly real, and though it’d be a fantastic story were he able to make a return to competitive basketball, it’s far from assured. No matter his next steps, though, it’s nice that he’ll finally be able to take them.