Dan Feldman

Miami Heat Media Day
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Dwyane Wade encourages Chris Bosh to put family first

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Dwyane Wade said he was praying for Chris Bosh to play again.

In light of the Heat not clearing Bosh due to a medical complication, Wade has another message for his former teammate.

Wade, via Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

It’s admirable Bosh wants to keep playing. Anyone who questioned his toughness during Miami’s contending years should feel silly (and should’ve felt silly then, honestly).

But there are more important things than basketball. It might be difficult for Bosh to consider that as he’s entangled in this struggle to play again, but reminders from friends like Wade can only help to give Bosh perspective.

Bosh continuing to play basketball just might not be safe. The Heat seem to project that, and it’s fair to question whether they honestly believe it or are influenced by wanting Bosh’s salary off their books. But Bosh must also honestly ask himself how far he’ll go for basketball.

Report: Kevin Garnett to retire

Kevin Garnett
AP Photo/Jim Mone
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The Timberwolves were working toward a buyout with Kevin Garnett with the expectation he’d retire.

It appears both will happen.

Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune:

Garnett and the Timberwolves came to an agreement Friday and a retirement announcement from Garnett is expected shortly, according to league source.

Other sources have now confirmed this.

Garnett had a fantastic 21-year career. He jumped to the NBA straight from high school, became an MVP and carried the Timberwolves as far as he could. He allowed a trade to Boston, where he wont a title with the Celtics. After an uneventful stop with the Nets, Garnett returned to Minnesota to finish his career as a franchise icon. He’ll be remembered for his snarling intensity and defensive excellence.

Few players have matched Garnett’s peak and longevity, and he’s a sure Hall of Famer in a class that will also include Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.

Pelicans GM: Quincy Pondexter could be out until January

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors - Game Two
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The Pelicans are 18-10 with Quincy Pondexter starting, 9-8 with him coming off the bench and 48-71 with him not playing for them in the last two seasons.

An oversimplification? Yes.

But it’s also evidence the sweet-shooting forward deserves a bigger role. Unfortunately, New Orleans won’t get to experiment with Pondexter – who missed all of last season following knee surgeries in May 2015 and January 2016 – a while longer.

Guerry Smith:

I’m not sure what the Pelicans do with Pondexter now. They have 15 players, the regular-season roster limit, with guaranteed salaries and multiple intriguing players on unguaranteed deals, including Lance Stephenson, Chris Copeland and Robert Sacre. Would New Orleans waive Pondexter to clear a spot? He also has a guaranteed salary for 2017-18, so that would complicate the cap picture for future seasons.

But with general manager Dell Demps probably still operating on the hot seat, the present might matter to him more than the future.

If the Pelicans believe Pondexter will come back healthy and productive, even in January, they’ll probably keep him. But if they’re concerned this lengthy injury has derailed his play and Stephenson or Copeland impresses in the preseason…

Russell Westbrook on Kevin Durant’s claim they’re still cool: ‘I haven’t talked to him’

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, gestures after scoring as forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kevin Durant said he and Russell Westbrook were still cool.

Did anyone tell Westbrook?

Royce Young of ESPN:

While he hasn’t completely embraced a personal rivalry with Durant, Westbrook he has invited the perception of dissatisfaction. This answer will only add fuel to the fire.

Thunder-Warriors games should be fun this year.

Report: Heat increasingly believe they’re done with Chris Bosh, who’s not talking to Pat Riley

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14:  National Basketball Association 2012-2013 champion Miami Heat player Chris Bosh (L) presents President Barack Obama with a signed basketball during an event at the White House January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. This is the second year in a row the team won the championship and made a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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LeBron James left the Heat with Pat Riley apparently questioning the authenticity of LeBron’s communication. Dwyane Wade left the Heat without communicating with Riley at all.

And now Chris Bosh – who Miami didn’t clear to play after medical testing – might leave the Heat under a communication gap with Riley.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Heat reportedly thought Bosh’s career might be over in May. This latest blood-clot complication won’t assuage their fears.

As I wrote then:

Bosh has three years and $75,868,170 remaining on his contract. The Heat could waive him and have his remaining salary excluding from their team salary on Feb. 9, 2017 – one year from his last game – if he doesn’t play between now and then and a doctor determines he has suffered a career-ending injury or illness.

That doctor, selected jointly by the NBA and players union would have to determine Bosh “has an injury or illness that (i) prevents him from playing skilled professional basketball at an NBA level for the duration of his career, or (ii) substantially impairs his ability to play skilled professional basketball at an NBA level and is of such severity that continuing to play professional basketball at an NBA level would subject the player to medically unacceptable risk of suffering a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness.” II would be the likely route here.

Bosh would still be paid if waived, but the doctor’s determination is the only way for Miami to get his salary off its books. That could open considerable cap space in 2017

In this scenario, Bosh could try joining another team. If he plays 25 games, his salary would return to Miami’s books – though that seems unlikely if an independent doctor rules Bosh’s career over.

That salary wouldn’t be applied until the final regular-season game, so the Heat would gain the cap space for the summer of 2017. They just might face a luxury-tax hit if they spend all the available money and Bosh comes back elsewhere.

Before it gets to that point, though, there’s plenty to sort out. It’d be helpful if Bosh and Riley could sit down and discuss the issue, but it appears there’s an impediment to that.