But what about beyond?
There is a fear within the Heat organization that Bosh’s condition will prevent him from ever being cleared to play by team doctors, several sources said.
This would be a sad and unfitting finish for Bosh, who has become one of the most respected players within NBA circles while facing too-common mocking from the larger fan base. Bosh is an excellent and underrated player, quality person to be around and should – if life were fair – have the opportunity to play several more seasons after just turning 32.
But life isn’t fair, and this situation might be as simple as it looks. Bosh has suffered blood clots the last two years that have required blood thinners. As long as he’s on blood thinners, I can’t imagine a doctor clearing him to play. The risk is just too great. Will his condition allow him to get off blood thinners and remain healthy?
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 – especially because Bosh’s $23,741,060 2016-17 salary will block the Heat from overboard spending this summer.
Bosh’s priority is still surely to return. You can bet the Heat share the same goal.
But, sometimes, reality has different ideas.