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.
The source said in early May that Bosh had reached a unique agreement that would purge him from the Heat’s cap before the start of free agency but also give him the opportunity to play again, if he chose, without salary-cap consequences for the Heat.
Contacted May 5, the league office and the players union denied that such an agreement was in place.
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.
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. Bosh will receive all $52 million still due, with insurance covering a substantial part of that.
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.
The removal of Bosh from the cap will leave the Heat with just over $36 million in cap space this summer, not counting Dion Waiters and Willie Reed, who are expected to exercise opt-outs, and Wayne Ellington, whose $6.3 million salary will be guaranteed only if he’s on the Heat’s roster after July 7.
Bosh has cooperated through the process and his departure from the Heat will be amicable, multiple sources. He has had multiple conversations with owner Micky Arison in the past several months and any anger against the Heat has dissipated, according to the source.
There have been discussions about Bosh’s departure being termed a “medical retirement,” but that is not definite. And Bosh has by no means ruled out playing again. The Lakers would be a natural possibility; Bosh spends his offseasons in Los Angeles and the Lakers’ general manager, Rob Pelinka, is Bosh’s former agent.
But Bosh remains on blood thinners and it’s unclear if any team would clear him for a return.
Bosh, 33, hasn’t played for the past 1 1/2 seasons because of multiple blood clot episodes. The Heat intended to clear him to play this past season before a preseason medical exam showed evidence of more clotting.
“There isn’t anybody in this organization that feels worse for C.B. than I do,” Heat president Pat Riley said at the end of the season. “It got a little sideways at the end because of feelings and things of that nature. I think in due time it will run its course and take care of itself.”
Bosh told Larry King last month that he understood the Heat’s position and believes he will play in the NBA again.
“It is a business,” he said. “I know we -- as athletes and owners and people involved with the NBA -- never want to say it’s a business, and things like that. It’s is a business. And hurt does come in with that. But as president of the Miami Heat, I understand what he has to do.”
The Heat and players union declined to comment Tuesday, but an announcement is expected before the start of free agency July 1.