Barry Jackson

Heat closing in on Bosh separation

pportal@elnuevoherald.com

The Heat has waited a year to begin its separation with Chris Bosh. Apparently, it can wait a bit longer.

Though the Heat is permitted to begin the process of removing Bosh’s contract from its cap as early as Thursday – the one-year anniversary of his last game --- the organization’s thinking, as of this weekend, was to delay the process.

Here’s why: If the Heat needs to create a lot of cap space just before the Feb. 23 deadline to add a high-end player making substantial money, Miami can move at that point to purge Bosh’s contract, which has a cap hit of $23.7 million this season. Otherwise, waiting until March to begin the process makes sense because of this:

Bosh’s salary would go back on Miami’s cap if he plays 25 games with another team. That’s highly unlikely to happen this season, but the Heat wants to be cautious because it isn’t in contact with Bosh.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra taks about Chris Bosh during media day on Sept. 26, 2016.

We’re told Bosh has no plans to play this season. He isn’t in basketball shape and is in no position to help a team in the coming weeks even if his history of blood clots weren’t an issue.

What’s more, an NBA-employed associate of Bosh said Bosh is not sure if he wants to play again. NBA people also question whether any team would clear him medically.

So why did Bosh hire a new agent (Rob Pelinka) last fall?

He came recommended by Kobe Bryant, and Bosh wanted an agent to find him opportunities outside of basketball, in case he doesn’t play again, and to find him a home in case he plays. The idea of playing with Dwyane Wade or LeBron James appeals to Bosh if he tries to play again.

Though playoff games can count as part of that aforementioned 25-game rule, the Heat is protected if it releases Bosh in March because, according to the NBA, "players waived [by an NBA team] after March 1 are not eligible to participate in playoff games during that season – unless a team whose active list is reduced to eight players due to injury or illness."

The Heat can clear Bosh off its cap if a doctor independently chosen by the NBA and union agree his condition is career-ending or puts his life at risk by playing. That is expected because Bosh has had three blood clot episodes in two years.

Bosh is owed $25.3 million and $26.8 million over the next two seasons. If Bosh plays 25 games elsewhere, Miami would not be forced to shed salary to accommodate his cap hit during the season. It merely would be required to pay what could be a sizable luxury tax bill.

Dion Waiters not only has surpassed the Heat’s expectations, but also has disproven past whispers that he’s not a good teammate.

"I played with him in Cleveland, and all that stuff is not true," guard Wayne Ellington said. "He’s just anxious to help his team win and show what he can do and some people [misinterpret] that. He’s starting to understand the game a lot more. And he’s maturing as a player and person."

But Erik Spoelstra pushes him hard: "I challenge him all the time to be more efficient."

Waiters had the quote of the week: "I’d rather go 0 for 30 than 0 for 9 because you go 0 for 9 that means you stopped shooting. That means you lost confidence."

• For a in-depth look at how and why Heat players improved when they get here, please click here.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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