After remaining optimistic that he would be able to return to the court this season despite his blood-clotting issue, Chris Bosh failed his Miami Heat team physical on Friday and is not cleared to join the team on the court in training camp. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, "the complication involved evidence of some continued clotting and is believed to be related to one of two previous blood clot episodes. Those episodes sidelined Bosh after the All-Star break each of the past two seasons."
This announcement from the Heat:
The Miami HEAT and Chris Bosh, in consultation with team doctors and other physicians, have been working together for many months with the mutual goal of having Chris return to the court as soon as possible. Chris has now taken his pre-season physical. The Miami HEAT regret that it remains unable to clear Chris to return to basketball activities, and there is no timetable for his return.
We are not able to comment further in light of Article XXII, Section 3(e) of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which precludes a team from releasing certain medical information without a player's consent.
Bosh has been opposed to what the Heat have been telling him about his condition for some time, and in fact recently said in an Uninterrupted interview that he felt he'd been written off by the team. However, Dan Le Batard said on his show Friday that a source close to the Heat organization says Bosh will not fight this failed physical.
If this is true, then Bosh -- who could still, for the record, choose to file a grievance with the NBPA (he and the Heat haven;t exactly seen eye to eye on this situation), then his options are pretty simple: he can try to get moved to another team via either a trade or buyout, or he can retire. Neither of these are great options, but that's the deal at this point.
If he does want to go to another team, how realistic is is that he ultimately be allowed to play on blood thinners? I would gather not very realistic. It's one thing to take a chance on a player with a bad knee, but it's another thing altogether to have a player dealing with blood clots and having to use thinners in a contact sport. Sure, there's a hockey player that does it.
The Heat certainly are not going to allow this to happen on their watch, and you have to assume other teams are looking at it the same way. Would you want to be the team that let him play and then have something potentially really bad happen? How bad would you look for putting the success of your team ahead of Bosh's well being? It sounds callous, but that's a PR nightmare.
So, if Bosh is indeed done playing for the Heat, here are a couple other things to consider:
1. Salary cap implications are real
Bosh is owed nearly $76 million over the next three seasons. Those are the last three years of a five-year deal he signed the same summer LeBron James went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Dywane Wade gone to Chicago, the Heat, as insensitive as it sounds, would be freed up a bit financially if Bosh's money were to come off the books.
If he's unable to play because of this condition this season, the Heat will receive relief on their salary cap in February. This could end up being a nice bit of relief around the trade deadline if they wanted to use it, or they would more likely carry it over into the summer of 2017 when there is a star-studded free agent class looking to get paid. The Heat would have Hassan Whiteside under contract already and they have Goran Dragic too. They would have enough room to offer up a max deal to someone like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, or someone else who could help push the franchise back in the right direction.
The Heat will always maintain Bosh's health is the most important part of this, and it is. But being able to hit the reset button on financial flexibility when Bosh's life also isn't being potentially threatened ends up being a nice escape for Miami.
2. Bosh is a surefire Hall of Famer
If this is indeed the end of Bosh's career, he's making the Hall of Fame no questions asked. Some people will debate that Bosh hasn't done enough for the Hall of Fame. These are probably the same people who challenged his value on a daily basis when he was playing third fiddle to LeBron and Wade from 2010 to 2012 before they finally broke through with a championship. Not only is Bosh a Hall of Famer, there shouldn't be any debate as to whether or not he has the credentials.
There are nine players in NBA history who have recorded at least 17,000 points and 7,500 rebounds in their careers that are no longer active and not in the Hall of Fame yet. Tim Duncan and Jason Kidd are two of those players and they'll be in the Hall of Fame soon enough. Shawn Marion and Chris Webber are two other players who have a chance at making the Hall of Fame. The others are Jack Sikma, Otis Thorpe, Antawn Jamison, Terry Cummings and Kevin Willis. Those five are unlikely to make it.
Bosh is going to join the 21 players with 17,000 points and 7,500 career rebounds who are in the Hall because he can add in the fact that he won two championships as a very important part of those teams, he made an All-NBA Second Team (and should've made more than that), and is an 11-time All-Star (All-Star selections counting are up for debate but they matter to the Hall of Fame now).
There are two players in their careers who are no longer active that averaged at least 19 points and 8.5 rebounds for their careers over at least 800 games: Duncan and Webber. Bosh is about to be the third. He's a lock for the Hall of Fame and could go in with a pretty incredible class of Kobe Bryant and Duncan if this ends up being the end of his career.