The Miami Heat and the man pulling all the strings, Pat Riley, are trying to make it seem like they’re torn and broken up about Chris Bosh being unable to return after another blood clot turned up in exams. They seemed hurting and apologetic for not being able to hold on to Dwyane Wade. But don’t believe the tears or the soft spoken words: The plan all along was to move on from the two.
Wade didn’t re-sign with the Heat, seeing them go after Kevin Durant and fail, extend Whiteside with a max contract, and then low ball him out of the team. Bosh has fought with the Heat to return, seemed to win, and then got hit with a jackhammer in the form of another blood clot. Now, Riley and the Heat, like they did with Wade after he signed with the Bulls, are trying to come out as thoughtful, player-oriented front office, which was only thinking about their well being, instead of the franchise’s future and money (Which is fine, as long as you admit it).
Maybe the human side of Pat Riley is the one leading him in the decision making. Maybe he and the Heat did everything they possibly could to help Chris Bosh get back on the court in Heat uniform. Riley said that health, and only health, was what guided the Heat this offseason. Not the financial and cap consequences of when and if Bosh was not cleared by the doctors, which would mean his career with the Heat, and probably in the NBA, is over.
And maybe Riley did really want Wade to stay a while long. Maybe he does wish Wade all the best in Chicago. Maybe it is tearing him up inside that the franchise’s greatest player ever is no longer on the team. Maybe Riley did do everything he could to make Wade feel wanted again, but because of circumstances, missed the train. His letter/media release to Wade was heartwarming, wasn’t it? Felt genuine enough to think he just wants the best for Wade.
But the Heat were never an overly sentimental ballclub. Riley hasn’t never been anything but practical. He went into this offseason with two goals: Sign Kevin Durant, keep Hassan Whiteside. He failed with the first, succeeded with the second. He never intended for Wade to re-sign, hence the lowball offers and dragging him as much as possible. He and the Heat didn’t want Bosh back. The second blood clot last season was a clear sign that he’s simply unreliable. Sure, they don’t want to see Bosh hurt, but Riley is someone who had no problem throwing out and changing an entire team when he first arrived at Miami 20 years ago. He had no qualms about letting go of other players, or trying to negotiate with LeBron James like he (Riley) has all the leverage. He’s that confident, that arrogant.
Bosh is probably done, not just in Miami. There are a number of options for the Heat here. They can cut him and use the stretch option, but they prefer other avenues. They could apply for the disabled player exception worth $5.6 million, but their best case scenario would be getting a doctor approved by both the NBA and the NBPA declared Bosh ineligible to return, which would remove Bosh’s remaining $75.8 million off the salary cap, and make things a lot more flexible for Miami, which I suspect was Riley’s plan all along.