Miami Heat

Heat owner Arison expects Bosh in training camp

An avenue has emerged for the Heat to apply for cap relief if Chris Bosh plays a few games and has another health setback.
An avenue has emerged for the Heat to apply for cap relief if Chris Bosh plays a few games and has another health setback.

The Heat, non-committal for months about whether Chris Bosh would be cleared to resume his career this season, suggested on Twitter Wednesday evening that it expects him to attend training camp.

“Looking good CB,” owner Micky Arison tweeted. “... Look forward to seeing in camp.”

Arison was responding to a Bosh tweet that included video of him shooting jump shots.

The Heat declined to offer additional clarity on Arison’s tweet, including whether he would be cleared medically by team doctors.

Bosh has been awaiting such clearance, according to a source.

Meanwhile, an option has surfaced in which the Heat could allow Bosh to play a limited number of games this season and still get salary cap relief before next summer if Bosh has a setback in his attempt to return from his second blood clot episode in a 12-month period.It has been widely reported that the Heat can apply to remove Bosh from its cap only if he does not play in a regular-season game before Feb. 9, the one year anniversary of his last game.

That’s true, but there’s a caveat:

The NBA’s labor agreement also would allow the Heat to remove Bosh’s salary from its cap before next summer if he plays in fewer than 10 games this season and then has a setback that’s considered career-ending.

Bosh’s wife said this week that he intends to play this season.

Here’s how the labor deal is phrased: “If the player played fewer than 10 in a season, the team can apply 60 days after his last game [to have his salary removed from the cap], or the one-year anniversary of his last game in the previous season, whichever is later.”

Preseason games do not count toward that total but playoff games do.

Here’s how the process works:

When a team applies to remove a player from its cap on the grounds that he has sustained a career-ending injury or illness, it must waive the player and then apply for cap relief.

Miami Heat team president Pat Riley talks about the recently completed season and the team's plans for free agency on Wed., May 18, 2016

According to the labor deal, “the determination as to whether an injury or illness is career ending is made by a physician jointly selected by the league and players association. The determination is based on whether the injury or illness will prevent the player from playing for the remainder of his career, or if it is severe enough that continuing to play constitutes a medically unacceptable risk.”

If the injury exclusion is granted, the player’s salary is removed from the team’s salary cap immediately.

Bosh is believed has found at least one doctor who has been receptive to him resuming his career, with use of a blood thinner that would be out of his system in eight hours.

The Heat rejected that proposal when Bosh wanted to return for the playoffs this past spring, but that approach has been discussed against this summer.

If the player later proves the doctors wrong and resumes his career, then his salary is returned to his former team’s salary when he plays in his 25th game in any one season, for any team.

This, according to cap expert Larry Coon, “allows a player to attempt to resume his career without affecting his previous team unless his comeback is ultimately successful. If the 25th game was a playoff game, then the player’s salary is returned to the cap effective on the date of the team’s last regular season game.”

So if Bosh, hypothetically, plays in nine regular-season games or fewer in November and very early December, then suffers a setback, the Heat could apply to remove his salary from the cap on Feb. 9, a process that would be easier if Bosh is not fighting it.

And if Bosh plays in nine games or fewer at any time during the regular season, the Heat still could apply to remove his salary from its cap before free agency next summer if Bosh has a setback that likely would end his career.

Bosh is due to make $25.3 million in 2017-18 and $26.8 million in 2018-19. Removing his 2017-18 salary from Miami’s cap would leave the Heat with more than $42 million in cap space next summer.

Bosh is set to make $23.74 million this summer, making him the NBA’s 10th-highest paid player this season, whether he plays or not.