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Chris Bosh: Miami Heat Big Man Has Most to Prove Next Season

With Free Agency Around the Corner, Bosh Has to Step Up His Game

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COMMENTARY | Arguably, Chris Bosh's play last season reduced the Big Three to "Two and a Half Men."

Sure, the Miami Heat squeezed out another championship. But with free agency approaching soon for the big man, Bosh has to step up or face a steep cut in pay and/or possible trade.

Where does Bosh fit in the bigger picture?

Compared to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Bosh is a decent tertiary player. Once the best player with the Toronto Raptors (2003-2010), Bosh has relegated himself to a role player and appears quite comfortable in the shadows of D-Wade and King James.

It's been proven time and time again that being good or having pivotal moments in must-win games are not enough for job security.

Mike Miller and his one-shoe shot from downtown last season in the playoffs was memorable, but the Heat used their amnesty clause on him and kept Joel Anthony on the roster.

Honest to goodness, I didn't see that coming.

And who can argue that in the absence of Derrick Rose, Nate Robinson carried the Chicago Bulls to a decent run last season. His reward: a deal with the Denver Nuggets after receiving no love from the front office.

In the general scheme of things, Chris Bosh has so much working against him to land a max-contract or even anything close to what he's contracted to earn in the next season ($19,067,500: Basketball-Reference).

Technically, Bosh is contracted through 2016, but after next season, he can exercise his early termination option. Either way, he's guaranteed a boatload of money ($20,590,000).

And unless the Big Three have a secret pact to take less money because they really enjoy playing as a unit, the Miami Heat must face who to keep and who to send packing when the boys are free to roam in the 2014 offseason.

Perhaps, the most telling sign of how the public -- and likely Pat Riley -- sees Chris Bosh as compared to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is in this picture.

Comparatively speaking, it's probably accurate, albeit a bit below the belt. But the truth is Bosh is still a beast on the court; his mid-range jumper is still sweet, just like Dirk Nowitzki's fadeaway.

Bosh is only 29 and at 6-11, he still has the length the Heat need to get second looks in the paint and grab defensive rebounds.

Chances are, even if Chris Bosh gets conditioned in the offseason, packs on more muscle and brings his A-game, his future with Miami hinges on what LeBron James does.

The NBA and 'nice guys'

Obviously, with two titles under his belt, when his contract ends, James will -- and should -- seek more money. And with many suitors lining up for his services, the Heat will ante up the money without batting an eye.

But with the luxury-tax penalty in place, if the original Big Three members have any chance in staying put, all three will have to work for less money or forgo raises.

Then, there's always the chance LeBron will pull a Kobe Bryant and demand a max deal at or near $30 million. Should the Heat give him the nod, Wade and Bosh must settle on mid-level deals or bail.

Assuming Bosh is third in line when the checks are dished out, he'll get considerably less in any deal going forward.

Most can admit that Mike Miller is a nice dude, but nice dudes don't pay the bills.

In the end, NBA franchises are not charitable events or glee clubs; it's all about turning a profit and likeability has no entry on the balance sheet.

Bradley is a professional writer and journalist, sportswriter, and avid fan of the NBA, NFL, NCAA, PGA and all things tennis. He keeps a watchful eye on Miami Heat developments.

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