Miami Heat fans welcome the three kings
The Miami Heat leads the league in drama, and it might not be done yet.
It was just getting started two summers ago when LeBron James departed the way he did, leaving a burning bridge across a river of bad blood.
It wasn’t done last week when the Heat and Dwyane Wade could not agree to avoid an acrimonious divorce dressed up in high-road love and thanks.
Now there might as well be a road sign warning Heat fans more drama might be ahead.
The Heat hopes to avoid a head-on collision with the third and last member of its championship-getting Big 3.
In what will seem like about 10 minutes from now, the late-September start of Heat training camp will be bearing down on us, preseason games soon following.
There isn’t much time left, in other words, until the ultimate truth about Chris Bosh’s health and NBA future comes forth because the time will have run out on the company line about how the Heat and Bosh together are “hopeful” and “optimistic” that he will be playing this season.
By design, that has suggested a consensus and an agreement that might not exist.
It did not exist in May, when a frustrated Bosh resorted to social media, blindsiding Heat management, to make his case that he was healthy enough to return to the team for the NBA playoffs.
It does not exist today, with Bosh still not yet medically cleared by Heat doctors.
And there still is no assurance it will exist in two months as preseason practice nears and the decision whether Bosh plays is left to a medical opinion that might be in dispute.
A Heat source familiar with the situation said, as of right now, a team of club doctors has yet to medically clear Bosh, 32, to resume his career after two consecutive seasons interrupted in a major way by blood clots and the treatment of them.
Bosh, however, has a personal physician who already has OK’d his return to basketball.
It is understandable why Bosh agreed to appear last week on Bill Simmons’ new HBO show, “Any Given Wednesday” — but on the condition he not be asked about his medical condition. To be asked, and to answer honestly, might have exposed a medical disagreement still being kept under wraps publicly.
The hope on both sides: That Heat doctors might clear Bosh after he has completed a six-month course of blood thinners in August.
The collision looming: If those doctors continue to not clear Bosh and the club seeks a medical retirement, while Bosh, backed by his own doctor, insists he is able to play. It could then come to down to a legal dispute that involves the NBA Players Association or the opinion of an independent doctor.
The Heat is siding with abundant caution (and so should fans, in their expectations), after Bosh missed half of the 2014-15 season following the discovery of blood clots in his lung, and almost half of this past season after a recurrence of a blood clot in his leg.
He has been treated with blood thinners, which help lessen the likelihood of a recurrence, but which also make participation in a contact sport like basketball more dangerous.
Concern over Bosh’s long-term health is paramount. The future of the husband and father is more important than the future of the power forward.
For the Heat, though, there also are pragmatic basketball considerations, involving three years of remaining contract paying Bosh around $76 million as the club’s highest-paid player. The main one involves future salary-cap relief. Miami can apply to gain that beginning one year after Bosh last plays. If he plays even one game this coming season, that cap relief would be delayed an entire year.
It’s a dilemma for the team. The Heat would clearly want its All-Star power forward back if it could be assured his blood-clot issue was completely in the past. But it might be better for the club’s future financial flexibility if he would medically retire before this coming season began if there was a good chance this season would be interrupted like the past two.
The Heat’s Big 3 era was a big success if short-lived, with four consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two championships, but the gradual end of it has been nothing close to smooth.
LeBron James’ departure blindsided the Heat.
Dwyane Wade left feeling underappreciated.
Now Chris Bosh floats in the murky gray, doctors deciding his future.