Heat unlikely to use stretch provision on Chris Bosh, leaving the door open for a return

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With a little over a month to go before training camp, it’s still unknown whether Chris Bosh will be ready to play for the Miami Heat. A recent open letter from owner Micky Arison hinted that the team is expecting Bosh to return after missing chunks of the last two seasons with a recurring blood clot issue, but there has been no definitive word either from the organization or from Bosh’s camp on his long-term status. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman explored the possibility of the Heat using the stretch provision on Bosh to save money in the short term, if he’s unable to play, but determined that it’s highly unlikely that happens.

For now, expect Aug. 31 to come and go without the Heat utilizing the stretch provision for the simple matter that if utilized next summer, when Bosh will have $52,127,110 left on the final two years of his contract, that amount could then be stretched over five years (the two remaining times two, plus one), with cap hits of $10,425,422, virtually the same amount going forward per year, with the benefit of such an agreement running out in 2021-22. If stretched by this Aug. 31, Bosh’s annual cap hits would run through 2022-23.

The only tangible difference for stretching by the end of this month would be to open additional cap space for this season, with a stretch by Aug. 31 saving the Heat $12,875,750 against the cap this coming season, enough to again drop them below the cap. The negligible gain, however, does not appear a priority, considering the Heat’s likely modest goals for the upcoming season if Bosh is not available.

There’s nothing the Heat could do with the freed-up short term cap space right now, so if there’s still a chance Bosh could play, it would make sense to keep him around. We’ll get an answer this year: either he’ll be fully healthy and play the year or the blood clots will return for a third time, making it even more unlikely he can continue his career. With any luck, it’s the former — the NBA is better when Bosh is healthy and playing at a high level.