Chris Bosh is now the main man for the Miami Heat.
Dwyane Wade will remain the face of the franchise but his knees have him playing much older than he is, and that’s not getting better. Luol Deng will provide some points, but the offense is going to run through Chris Bosh.
Which is why he signed an oversized five-year, $118 million contract with the Heat on Wednesday (the deal was agreed to earlier in the month). The Heat announced the signing.
“Chris Bosh is a two-time NBA champion and one of the skill set makes versatile big men in the league,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “His unique skill set makes him one of the best players in the game today. I’ve always felt he was committed to this organization, this staff and this city. I think he’s going to have the opportunity of a lifetime leading this team next season and having the nine-time NBA All-Star back in the fold was a big key for us. We are very blessed to have him.”
That’s a lot of bank for Bosh, but it was part of Miami’s face saving moves in the wake of LeBron James choosing to go home.
Miami will be an interesting team next season. Bosh will surprise some people who don’t remember him from Toronto and don’t realize how much he subjugated his game to accommodate LeBron. With Deng, Josh McRoberts and some of the same players back the Heat can continue to use that space-and-pace style of play that has taken them to four straight NBA Finals. They will be a pretty good regular season team, one that will put up points and play fast.
The East likely shakes out with Chicago and Cleveland one and two in some order, then after that things get wide open — Washington, Toronto, Miami, Atlanta and Brooklyn could finish in any order from three through seven, with teams like Charlotte and New York also in the mix for playoffs spots. The East isn’t as deep with quality as the West, but it’s going to be a lot more interesting this season.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.