The Houston Rockets aren’t the only team that will be courting Chris Bosh. According to a report by CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, multiple franchises could offer Bosh a maximum contract once the dust settles with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Even more importantly, Berger says that Bosh is more likely to take the money from another team than accept a pay-cut to remain with the Miami Heat.
UPDATE: Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski confirms Berger’s report.
Chris Bosh's reps have made recent calls on market to reconfirm that max slots would be available to him, sources tell Yahoo. Answers: Yes.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2014
PREVIOUSLY: Berger’s report that teams who lost out on free agency’s two biggest stars would chase Bosh with a max offer as a contingency is hardly surprising. It’s the news that Bosh is more open to leaving the Heat than staying with them once those offers come that could shake up free agency.
Bosh possibly going to the Rockets (or to the Lakers or Mavs) proves why the notion of Bosh taking a $10 million pay cut to stay in Miami was never realistic. With the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs, Lakers, Cavs, Suns and potentially others chasing James, Anthony or both, there are more teams than there are LeBrons and Melos (only one of each). Once James and Anthony have made a decision, the teams that lost out will be lining up to create a market for Bosh.
Thus, with James waiting for Heat president Pat Riley to revamp the roster and with Dwyane Wade leaving $42 million on the table at age 32, Bosh is the member of the Big Three most likely to break away. Multiple league sources say there will be a close-to-max market for Bosh if Anthony and James stay with their respective teams. One of those people, an executive with a rival team, said the growing belief around the league is that Bosh would prefer a four-year max deal with another team to a discounted longer deal with Miami.
Previous conventional wisdom said that if James re-ups with the Heat, Wade and Bosh would follow suit. Indeed, Bosh said during the playoffs that he’d be comfortable accepting a reduced salary if it ensured the Big Three would stay together, and all reports in the interim have suggested that Bosh is still planning to do so. Even when news broke that the extent of Bosh’s potential pay-cut was greatly exaggerated, it never seemed as if he was likely to leave Miami if James re-signs.
Of course, Berger’s report refutes that notion. James’ insistence on receiving a maximum salary and Bosh reportedly seeking a five-year, $90 million deal from the Heat leaves Riley hamstrung in free agency, at least relative to expectations when it became apparent that each member of the Big Three was opting out of his contract for next season. When James, Wade, and Bosh met to discuss their future and left with their new contracts “set,” it appeared they were more likely to remain in Miami than ever.
Once it surfaced in recent days that Wade and Bosh were “unsure” of LeBron’s plans and that James’ agent has met with several of his client’s suitors, though, it became apparent there was dissension in South Beach.
By accepting a five-year, $90 million contract from Miami as opposed to a maximum deal from another team, Bosh would be leaving several million dollars on the table per season. However, it’s pertinent to note that the Heat are the only team that can offer him five years of security; other suitors are limited to presenting him four-year contracts.
Has Bosh’s lack of clarity regarding LeBron and the general, unexpected conflict with the Heat’s stars led him to reconsider his stance on a pay-cut? Berger’s report certainly supports that idea. And if that ultimately proves the case, it not only drastically alters Bosh’s future, but the landscape of free agency at large.
Where do you want Bosh to sign?
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