fanatix looks at the options in front of the All-Star forward this off-season.
What Chris Bosh does this off-season is just as important as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade in terms of the Miami Heat and the direction the team takes moving forward.
fanatix NBA editors Sumeet Paul and Scott Hazlewood explore what options are on the table for Bosh and what jersey he will be wearing in season 2014-15.
Sumeet Paul: With the spotlight on LeBron James, both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh also opted out of their contracts last week and face an uncertain future this summer. Firstly, how important is it to the Miami Heat that they bring Bosh back next season?
Scott Hazlewood: It’s this really interesting dynamic between the three of them, it’s like they are all playing free agency chicken.
They all opted out seemingly with the best interests of the team at heart with the hope of re-working their deals to add another impact player or two under the cap.
Now after free-agency has opened it’s almost a case of “oh I’ll re-sign if you re-sign”.
Bosh has, rightly or wrongly, been seen as the third wheel to the Big Three but his impact has been no less pronounced given what he gives the team in the ability to stretch a defence and better than average defence and ability to alter a shot.
Personally I think Bosh’s return relies so heavily on what James and Wade do it is hard at this stage to see what he will do.
Bosh has made it clear he is looking for a max deal no matter where he signs, with Houston being touted as an alternative.
But Wade and James are looking to “get theirs” too, so really I can’t see Bosh signing a reduced deal in order to keep the gang together and maybe be left holding the can if James opts out early and goes to a different team and Wade retires due to his knees.
SP: Reports suggest that the Houston Rockets have made Bosh their Plan B if Carmelo Anthony goes elsewhere, would that be a good fit for him or do you see other teams potentially targeting him too?
SH: Personally I think Houston could be a good match for the Rockets and Bosh. As I said before Bosh can stretch a defence and make them keep an eye on him even if he is out to the three-point line.
What this does for the Rockets is allow Dwight Howard to get a fraction more time and space, as teams last season could simply collapse on him and they blunted his post skills, which are still behind where most thought they would be at this stage of his career.
To get Bosh they would need to give up Omer Asik who has made it clear he has never liked being shunted to being a role-player.
If they can do that and add Bosh then it might not be the “Big Three” the Rockets were aiming for at the start of the off-season, but it would make them a better team next year.
SP: From a Miami perspective, they are likely to want to know James’ decision first, if he does decide to leave do they then make Wade and Bosh priorities or is it a case of the Big Three era is over and let’s start this thing again?
SH: I don’t think Heat boss Pat Riley will just blow up the team if James does decide to leave this off-season so yes he will re-sign Wade and Bosh to the deal they want and try and add talent around them.
Riley, the Heat and of course the players themselves worked too hard and too many pieces were moved around so to speak, to assemble this team in the first place so to let all of that go given the level of success they have had over the past four years is hard to see.
But anything could still happen.
Of course if we were flies on the walls of every important meeting room over the past week and he rest of the free-agency period we would know a lot more.
However, it seemed a fait accompli around 10 days ago that James, Wade and Bosh would all return, give up money to make the team better and get ready for another season or two deep in the playoffs.
SP: So taking all the above into consideration, give us your prediction on what happens with Miami this off-season and whether or not Bosh will be a happy/rich man when all the relevant decisions have been made?
SH: Despite all of the intrigue over the past few days and even hours, I still feel that all three will be coming back to Miami.
Will Bosh get the deal he wants – probably not. Given he is looking for big dollars and a give year deal and there are limited teams that can offer him that.
At this stage of his career there is no better place for him to stay competitive, and who knows maybe win a third championship in five years, than Miami.
Sure the pastures of Houston and maybe even Dallas look inviting, but for every mid-range and role-player that is snapped up by teams the number of options and dollars out there for Bosh slowly dries up leaving South Beach.
The NBA fan in me hopes I am wrong, as a “shake-up” would be good for the league and distribute some of the playing talent, but I still think James, Wade and Bosh come to some kind of agreement and stick around together for I think, the next two years.