Pat Riley said Monday he believes Chris Bosh’s career with the Miami Heat is probably over.
“We feel that based on the last exam that his Heat career probably is over,” Riley said in a meeting Monday morning with Heat beat writers.
“I think Chris is still open-minded, but we are not working toward his return. I have not talked to Chris about it. The only people that I have talked to about his situation have been his doctors and his agent, and his agent has changed over the last couple weeks. So, that’s it.”
What about his NBA career?
“I don’t know,” Riley responded. “That’s up him. That’s up to the NBA. I can’t answer that question. This is 20 months, three exams and from what’s going on with 90 percent of the doctors we’ve talked to this is something where has to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life.”
If he’s going to come back, Riley said, “we have to sit down and have a conversation.” Riley said he’s reached out to Bosh via email but has not heard back from him.
Since failing his physical with the Heat last Monday, Bosh, 32, who has been dealing with blood clots for the past 21 months and has had his season cut short after the All-Star break each of the last two years because of clotting, has maintained he would like to continue to his playing career and would look for other avenues to do so.
Riley’s announcement Monday only leads one to believe the road ahead could get uglier.
The Heat could release Bosh on Feb. 9, the anniversary of his last game. Then what’s left of the $76 million the team owes him would come off the salary cap. That’s if Bosh never plays again. If he signed with another team and played in 25 games, his salary would go back against the Heat’s cap.
“Where we head from here is where the next steps are,” Riley said. “There is not a next step for us because it’s pretty definitive with us from that standpoint that this is probably going to be a time where we really have to step back and really confer about his future with us. The only thing we care about is his health. Everything else that’s been written about that is wrong. There’s never been any [salary] cap [talk].
“It’s been health, health, health, playing, playing, playing. Whatever the cap ramifications are, they are there. That’s whatever it is. But we never ever thought about that. If we didn’t care about Chris we would have played him in the playoffs this year and tried to get past Toronto and get to Cleveland. If we thought about the cap consequences of this thing we wouldn’t have gone on this protocol with him to get him ready for this season.”
Riley said Bosh’s comments that Heat doctors wrote him off “was a poor statement on his part because it besmirched our doctors and their efforts to work with his protocol.”
“That might be his attitude and his perception of it because he didn’t want to believe what was out there,” Riley said. “In spite of that, we did everything we could. We had a myriad of conferences right here [in my office] with Chris’ people, our doctors and everybody here on conference call to find another way. He asked us ‘Just stay with me on this.’ We said ‘absolutely.’
“We had a huge conference at the end of June where everybody was on the call. We were waiting for the protocol and formula and how it was going to be presented. Chris was still under the same standard of care, six months regimen of blood thinners. Everybody knows that. But there was a process involved and last Monday he didn’t pass his physical. So, he was never written off.”
On Monday, Bosh released the third episode of his self-directed documentary Rebuilt on Uninterrupted. In it, he discusses how he feels like he’s trapped in purgatory and stresses how he would like to get back on the court to compete against close friends Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
“It hurts me because I know I can do the same thing and I'm still hoping to have my moment really just to prove myself as a basketball player,” Bosh said. “I feel right now that I can still play at that level. I know people question if I'm going to be able to produce like I did. I feel like I can produce more. I put in all the work. So, let's see where we're at."
Riley said Bosh was never shunned by the organization. He said his door was always open for a conversation and remains open.
“He may not want to talk to me,” Riley said. “[But] he was contacted throughout the summer by Coach Spo, myself and [owner] Micky [Arison] and he decided not to talk to any of us until he was clear. That was his decision.”