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The Miami Heat have officially waived former All-Star forward Chris Bosh, finally bringing an end to a long, unfortunate saga that has perhaps overshadowed Bosh’s hugely successful Heat career. But in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Pat Riley made it clear that nothing about Bosh’s accomplishments in Miami would be forgotten.
“Chris changed his life and basketball career when he came to Miami,” Riley said in the statement. “And he changed our lives for the better. … He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise. The number “1” will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters.”
The Heat’s decision to waive Bosh is merely a formality, and had been coming for over a month. Bosh sat out the entire 2016-17 season after failing a preseason physical, and had been sidelined for portions of the two previous seasons due to an illness first discovered in the winter of 2015.
After the diagnosis of the illness, the Heat would not let Bosh back on the court. Bosh contested the team’s assessment of his condition. Ultimately, the NBA conducted its own medical review and came to the same conclusion as the Heat.
The league’s ruling allowed Miami to waive Bosh and escape from the final two years of his contract. Bosh will still be owed his $25.3 million salary for 2017-18 and $26.8 million for 2018-19, but neither figure will count toward the salary cap.
Bosh played six seasons in Miami, making the All-Star game in all six of them and winning two NBA titles. He joined along with LeBron James in 2010, and stayed along with Dwyane Wade in 2014. Both James and Wade tweeted out their appreciation for Bosh, using emojis to reference the two championships the trio won together:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 4, 2017
Bosh was ultimately the last of the Big Three to leave the franchise. James returned to Cleveland in 2014, while Wade jumped to Chicago in 2016. Bosh departs with per-game averages of 18 points and 7.3 rebounds over the six seasons.
Bosh tweeted out his thanks to Miami as well:
— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) July 5, 2017
Here is Riley’s complete statement on Bosh:
“Chris changed his life and basketball career when he came to Miami,” Riley said. “And he changed our lives for the better, in a way we never would have imagined, when he joined the Miami Heat. We will forever be indebted to CB for how he changed this team and led us to four trips to the NBA Finals and two NBA Championships. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise. The number “1” will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters. Today, we are both moving on but we wish Chris, Adrienne and their family nothing but the best. They will forever be part of the Miami Heat family.”
Bosh has said that he believes he can play in the NBA despite his medical condition. It’s unclear if he still plans to pursue other playing opportunities elsewhere in the league.
More NBA free agency from Yahoo Sports:
• Shams Charania: George Hill gets $57 million deal from Kings
• Michael Lee: A year later, Durant changes the game again
• Reports: Gordon Hayward will join Celtics, or maybe he won’t
• Dan Wetzel: Billups’ own Decision was all about LeBron