The Miami Heat don’t know whether Chris Bosh will return this season, but the organization is at least “open-minded” to it, team president Pat Riley said Sunday at the Heat’s annual Family Festival event.
“Absolutely open-minded,” said Riley, who celebrated his 71st birthday Sunday. “That’s our position.”
The Heat (40-29) hasn’t said much about Bosh since he was sidelined at the All-Star break in the wake of another bout with blood clots. Two weeks ago, the 11-time All-Star released a statement saying he was not currently dealing with deep vein thrombosis and remained positive that he would be able to return this season.
But the front office has remained mum on the subject of whether it would allow Bosh to play again. Medical experts have said an athlete on blood thinners, which Bosh was on, should avoid contact for three to six months.
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Bosh, who skipped Sunday’s festivities to be at home with his newborn twins, has been working out at the Heat’s facilities to keep himself in shape. But teammates have said he has not participated in contact drills.
Saturday's 122-101 win over the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers was the second time Bosh has been on the Heat’s bench during a game.
Riley also tackled a few other subjects including Saturday's win over former Heat star LeBron James:
“It was a great win last night,” Riley said. “You never know what’s going to happen until it happens. After the All-Star break, different players, different combinations, getting Joe [Johnson], the rise of our rookie in Josh [Richardson] playing well, coach [Erik Spoelstra] opening up the floor for Goran [Dragic]. You're starting to see some very positive results.
“But last night’s win was a good win coming off the tough loss to Charlotte. I know how much that stung. I felt like a coach again after the Charlotte game. It’s been so long — to take a dagger like that. But last night was the makeup for that.”
▪ Riley was effusive in his praise of center Hassan Whiteside and the growth he’s seen in the 26-year-old center this season. So much so, Riley basically admitted he knows he’s going to have to fork over a hefty offer to keep Whiteside in a Heat uniform when he enters free agency this summer.
“I’ve never been around that kind of turnaround,” Riley said. “We’ve had some players that we’ve opened our eyes up on, but I think what Hassan did last year and what he’s doing now, his level of play now, it’s just all about more experience, more reps, and understanding how important he is to us.
“In my 50 years in the NBA, I have never seen that kind of phenomenon. I know that’s hurting me right now as far as his free agency goes, complimenting him. But really, he’s grown a lot.”
Whiteside said after his 16-point, 13-rebound, two-block effort Saturday against the Cavs he thought his performance was “a great statement for Defensive Player of the Year.”
▪ Riley said he would still like to “be here” when Dwyane Wade gets to 30,000 points. Wade, 34, crossed the 20,000-point threshold Saturday, becoming the 41st player in NBA history to do so.
“He’s going to gag when you tell him that,” Riley said. “But I keep telling him he’s a lot younger than he talks about. He’s going to love the game even more as long as we keep finding pieces to put around him. So figure it out; 10,000 would be eight years maybe. He can play until he’s 40. Something like that.”
Wade danced on stage with special guest and rapper Vanilla Ice Sunday as he performed his 1990s hit Ice Ice Baby.
“I just go out each year and try to do what I can within each season,” Wade said Sunday. “I’m going to try to do that until I don’t want to do that no more. If God continues to bless me where I continue to have the health to play, then I will do it. Then, when I don’t feel I want to do it anymore, hopefully I can walk away from it when that time comes.
“But I’m enjoying it, man. Like I said last night, I like this team. I really like the vibe that we’re building back here in the city of Miami. It’s just been great. No complaints here man.”