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The long, drawn-out saga that has been Chris Bosh’s medical dispute with the Miami Heat appears to have finally come to a verdict. If reports are correct, then the verdict is an extremely favorable one for the Heat.
According to a report from the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman, the NBA and its players’ union have concluded their own review of Bosh’s health, and have confirmed the Heat’s stance that Bosh’s illness makes it unsafe for him to play in the NBA.
The league’s ruling allows Miami to waive Bosh, who sat out the entire 2016-17 season after a failed preseason physical, and get out from under 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.
The Heat had the right to apply to exclude Bosh’s salary from their salary cap as soon as Feb. 9, the one-year anniversary from his last game played, but by working with the league, Bosh and the players’ association were able to reach an agreement that did not run the risk of Bosh’s salary-cap hit resurfacing on the team’s books should he return to the NBA at a later date.
The medical ruling grants Miami crucial cap relief as it look to build on a 30-11 record over the latter half of this past season. Once the Heat place the 33-year-old Bosh on waivers, they’ll be roughly $37 million under the cap by the time free agency begins on July 1. If Bosh’s contract had remained on the books, it likely would have prevented the Heat from making significant additions to their roster. Now they have the opportunity to pursue some of this summer’s highest-profile free agents.
Meanwhile, Bosh will reportedly be free to pursue employment with any of the other 29 NBA teams, despite a provision in the CBA that would seemingly require a nine-month hiatus:
To reiterate, have been told by a party familiar with Bosh agreement 9-month waiting period in new CBA not in play here. This is a one off.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) June 2, 2017
But a return to the court would require clearance from team doctors — something Bosh never received in Miami since he was shut down for the remainder of the 2015-16 season that February after a second blood clot scare in as many years. The NBA’s medical review would seemingly further distance him from a return.
The specifics of Bosh’s condition are murky. It first arose during the 2014-15 season at All-Star weekend, when the 11-time All-Star complained of abdominal pain. The following week, he was admitted to the hospital for testing, and was ruled out for the season with blood clots in his lungs. Bosh returned to the court at the outset of the 2015-16 season, but was again shut down after a recurrence of the issue.
After the failed physical prior to the 2016 preseason, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Heat increasingly believed Bosh’s tenure in Miami was over due to a career-ending illness. Bosh, however, has maintained that he still can (and will) play. The contrasting views of his medical condition put the two parties at a standstill — Bosh stuck on the sidelines, the Heat burdened by his contract — and led to the league’s own review of the situation. And now, finally, 16 months after Bosh’s final game in Miami, we appear to have a resolution.
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