Chris Bosh says he was ‘close’ to leaving the Heat in free agency

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The Miami Heat have represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals for each of the last four seasons, but that obviously is likely to change now that LeBron James has left to return home to Cleveland in order to once again play for the Cavaliers.

Miami managed to bring back a more than reasonable roster under the circumstances, signing Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts in free agency, in addition to re-signing Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on multi-year deals to return to the Heat.

But at least in Bosh’s case, a return was anything but a foregone conclusion.

From ESPN.com:

Chris Bosh said Thursday that he was “close” to leaving the Miami Heat before ultimately deciding to sign a five-year, $118 million contract to stay with the team.

“It was close. I’m not going to lie,” Bosh said on “The Zaslow and Joy Show” on FM 104.3 The Ticket in Miami. “It was close. It was a weird situation because we were waiting so long and I didn’t know what was going on.

“I think you’re always in a situation where it is close even if you don’t leave because teams got very aggressive on me. And I guess as soon as LeBron made up his mind, that’s when everything could fall in line. But I was just waiting, so I didn’t know what was going on.”

Bosh had a max contract offer from the Rockets on the table, one that was so legit that Houston cleared cap space by getting rid of Jeremy Lin in order to sign him, with no guarantees that Bosh would commit to coming to Houston.

But Bosh had maintained that he wanted to remain in Miami with or without LeBron, and once the Heat lost the game’s best player and came at Bosh with a max contract offer to stay in town, that made his decision one that was easier than expected.