MIAMI (AP) - ESPN is reporting Chris Bosh has decided to join
the Miami Heat and play alongside Dwyane Wade, citing a "person
with knowledge of the situation."
Henry Thomas, the agent for both Bosh and Wade, did not return
calls or e-mails early Wednesday from The Associated Press. Calls
to Wade and two representatives for the 2006 NBA finals MVP also
were not returned. The ESPN report did not specify if Bosh was
simply signing with Miami or if a sign-and-trade with Toronto would
If Bosh signs, which can't happen until Thursday at the
earliest, it would be a huge coup for the Heat. Wade said when free
agency began that he would likely only stay in Miami if the Heat
lured either Bosh or LeBron James to South Florida.
Bosh averaged career-bests of 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds last
season for Toronto.
Miami came into the free-agent period with around $44 million of
cap space, not including $16 million or so earmarked for Wade,
thanks to years of avoiding just about any deal where money would
have been committed for the 2010-11 season.
"We want to build a dynasty," Heat president Pat Riley had
told fans entering free agency.
Bosh and Wade would be a pretty good start.
They share an agent, were Olympic teammates on the gold-medal
team in Beijing, dined together at times during the free-agent
interview process last week in Chicago and were part of that
star-studded draft class in 2003 - Bosh went fourth, Wade fifth.
Now all eyes turn to the No. 1 pick in that class, LeBron James.
The two-time MVP plans to say which team he'll play for next on
ESPN Thursday night.
Bosh, Wade and James have talked about playing together. If that
plan is to be truly hatched, now it could only happen in Miami.
The expectation around the Heat for months - for years, really -
was that Wade would have a flirtation with free agency, then return
to Miami for a six-year contract that could have been worth around
$127 million, maybe a bit more or less depending on what the salary
cap number for the coming 2010-11 season is.
Wade fed that assumption, saying countless times that he wanted
to stay in Miami if the roster was upgraded to a
championship-contending level. That rather ambiguous caveat took a
more exact shape in recent days, and the Heat were clearly on edge
when Wade took two meetings with the Chicago Bulls, his hometown
Days later, Wade will be apparently able to say he got what he
wanted all along.