The Miami Heat and Chris Bosh reached a resolution Wednesday – it’s time for the 11-time All-Star’s season to officially be over.
“The Miami Heat and Chris Bosh announce that Chris will not be playing in the remainder of the 2016 NBA Playoffs,” the team said in a statement released around 4:45 p.m. “The Heat, Chris, the doctors and medical team have been working together throughout this process and will continue to do so to return Chris to playing basketball as soon as possible.”
Wednesday’s news comes a day after the National Basketball Players Association issued a statement saying it wanted the Heat to work with Bosh to “resolve the situation” regarding his health and a potential return this season.
Out since the All-Star break following a recurrence of blood clots, Bosh announced on March 10 through his publicist that he did “not have deep-vein thrombosis,” that he was working with the Heat for “the best precautionary treatment,” and that he remained “positive that I will be able to return this season.”
Shortly after the Miami Herald reported last month that Bosh had found a doctor who had cleared him to return to the court but the Heat remained opposed to it, Bosh’s wife, Adrienne, responded to a social media post by Miami Herald columnist Ethan Skolnick on Twitter with the hashtag, #BringBoshBack.
Skolnick had pointed out during Miami’s Game 4 loss in Charlotte how the Heat was “really missing Bosh,” and Bosh’s wife replied to that tweet. Later that same night, Bosh posted a video of himself on Snapchat shooting at AmericanAirlines Arena and bemoaning how much he misses the game.
Bosh, who hasn’t spoken with reporters since the All-Star break, was at Wednesday’s practice with his teammates. He’s been traveling with the Heat since the playoffs began.
Bosh traveled to Toronto on Tuesday alongside owner Micky Arison and then gave a stirring pep talk at the end of regulation in a team huddle that helped lift the Heat to a 102-96 Game 1 victory in overtime. Several teammates said Bosh kept them focused after Kyle Lowry’s half-court heave at the end of regulation stunned them and sent the game to overtime.
“It hasn’t been difficult at all,” Dwyane Wade said Wednesday when asked if the murkiness of Bosh’s situation had made things difficult for the players. “We’re not concerned with what’s going on in the outside. We’ve dealt with Chris being out since February. So we know the dynamics there. All we care about is that one of our leaders is helping us in the best way he can.
“Coach always talks about leadership at all levels and it doesn’t mean just when you’re on the basketball floor. He’s been leading us whenever he’s been on that bench. He’s been doing an unbelievable job of being a coach in our ear and someone who has been through that can help these guys who have been through. So that’s all we’re concerned with.”
Arison, team president Pat Riley and other members of the Heat’s front office attended Wednesday’s practice at the Air Canada Center and were huddled outside for several minutes before the team’s statement was released about an hour later.
After Tuesday’s win over the Raptors, Amar’e Stoudemire, the Heat’s player rep to the union, said Bosh had never put any pressure on his teammates to intervene on his behalf. In the end, Stoudemire said, his teammates and the players association were only concerned with Bosh’s health.
Wade said Wednesday Bosh and his situation never became a distraction for the Heat and that Bosh wouldn’t talk about his situation in front of his teammates or in private.
“At this point, Chris’s focus with us is about basketball,” Wade said. “He’s not coming in talking about himself and what he’s going through. He’s not letting us see that part of him. Even as a friend, I think he understands I’m focused on these playoffs. He hasn’t let me see it either.
“Every time I see him it’s about what I can do, what we can do as a team. Obviously we all understand he would love to be out there. We understand we’re missing a big part – a huge part of our team. Everyone would love for him to be out there with us. But he can’t be. And he knows we can’t focus on him not being out there.”
As it stands, Bosh is due another $76 million over the next three years.
He’s told those close to him he has no plans to retire.
If Bosh switches course and decides to retire this off-season the Heat would still have to carry his $23.7 million contract against the cap next season. Although Bosh would still receive the balance of his contract, the Heat would receive salary-cap relief for his loss a full year after his final game. Bosh last played for the Heat on Feb. 9.