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Two and a half years after his blood-clotting issues forced him into an early exit from the Miami Heat, 11-time All-Star Chris Bosh is still seeking an NBA job, but he knows as well as anyone that the clock is ticking on his retirement, and the timer might expire before his 35th birthday.
“Yeah, it’s still on my mind,” Bosh told Yahoo Sports of his comeback attempt. “Obviously, if it doesn’t happen by February, I’m not stupid, but yeah, I’m still looking forward to that. I’m still trying to overcome that hump and trying to get something going. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know I can still play some ball and be a 3-and-D guy for somebody out there.”
Blood-clotting problems cut short Bosh’s 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, and his health became a contentious issue with the Heat, who leveraged a provision in the 2017 collective bargaining agreement that allowed them to clear the remaining $52.1 million on his contract from their salary cap last summer and effectively end his career in Miami after an NBA medical review.
Even as he failed a physical prior to the 2016-17 season, Bosh maintained his desire to return to the court. That aspiration carried through last season, when in March he told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, “I’m going to give [playing] one more shot” in 2018-19. “That’s all it is — a shot.”
That shot, it seems, will last until February, when the NBA’s Feb. 7 trade deadline precedes the March 1 playoff-eligibility waiver deadline, and teams will ready their rosters for the postseason. Feb. 9 will mark three years to the day of his last game. Bosh turns 35 years old on March 24.
Bosh understands concerns about his health
The obvious concern for anyone unfamiliar with Bosh’s medical records is his well-being, especially among those who remember the third-party medical clearance that resulted in Reggie Lewis’ death. The Heat, who have Bosh’s records under seal, shared those concerns, and given that he remains unsigned 30 months after his last game, so too does the rest of the league.
“If he was healthy, he’d be playing for the Miami Heat right now,” a general manager told ESPN in March. “The fact they determined it was not an option makes me say we’re not going there.”
Bosh told Yahoo Sports that he “absolutely” understands those concerns, but he has weighed his treatment options and sought enough second opinions and to feel comfortable that he can identify the symptoms and still play without catastrophic risk to his health. “That’s kind of always the basis of the conversation, and I appreciate people who check up on me, but this is something that of course I’ve thought long and hard about. I know what those things feel like.”
Bosh still believes he can fill an NBA role
Bosh’s game was on the forefront of the NBA’s small-ball revolution, and he had just begun to flash the true extent of his floor-spacing ability in the last two seasons for the Heat, shooting a more-than-respectable 36.9 percent on more than four 3-point attempts per game. A lean 6-foot-11, he had successfully played both big-man positions, anchoring Heat defenses that consistently ranked among the best in the league alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
This, combined with an abrupt ending to his career that left him without a chance to properly say goodbye to the game he loved, is why Bosh is extending his comeback pursuit a little longer.
Wade, 36, Bosh’s running mate for all six seasons he spent in Miami, has also mulled retirement this summer and remains unsigned in the final weeks before NBA training camps open in September. Asked if there’s any chance the two of them could join fellow draft class of 2003 alum LeBron on the Los Angeles Lakers for one last run at a championship together, Bosh laughed and told Yahoo Sports, “That would be the Laker Show plus the Old-Man Show.”
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