The End Of The Miami Heat's Big Three
This week the Miami Heat waived Chris Bosh due to medical reasons. It's likely that his playing days are over.
But Miami fans are spending time reliving that small window of four years when Bosh, along with Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, owned the National Basketball Association.
Manny Navarro, the Miami Heat reporter with the Miami Herald, explains why the process took so long for the team and Bosh to separate, as well as what this trio meant to Miami and South Florida sports:
Why did it take as long as it did?
There's a bunch of hoops you have to go through as an NBA team. With a player who has an illness or has a situation where maybe they have to be out for an extended period of time, the Heat needed doctors to sort of confirm that he could no longer play basketball. They were waiting for doctors to basically rule Chris Bosh’s career was over. When that happened, with the new collective bargaining agreement, the team was no longer on the hook if Bosh decided to continue his career elsewhere. So ultimately, Miami was sort of forced to wait until they crossed through all those hoops even though they knew last year, in the middle of the season, that Bosh was never going to play for them again because medically it would be too dangerous for him.
If the team could waive him they would be off the hook for his salary. Bosh still gets his $25 million plus and another $26 million next year. But his salary doesn’t go against the team’s league cap. That money is available to go out and get other players.
Is his career over or is he going to move on to something else?
I've had many people tell me that the moment another team opens up his medical records and sees what he's gone through with the blood clots etc. that it would be very risky for any team in the league to consider playing him. Now that's not to say there can't be medical advances or he can't be re-evaluated in the future and somebody says, 'You know Chris, we think you can play with this medication.' But I think being that he's already in his mid-30s and the fact that he's been out of basketball basically the last year and a half, it would be very hard for him to come back and play at that level.
He (Bosh) was the last of the big three: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. They won a couple of titles for the Heat. When James left there was anger. When Wade left there was sadness. What are you hearing from people after Bosh’s exit?
I think a lot of people are just sort of sad that it ended this way; that Bosh’s career essentially ended at the All-Star break two years ago. But I think things ended on a positive note. Things were so bad between Bosh and the Heat a year ago and you wondered, is this just going to be a bad breakup? That certainly isn't the case anymore. Bosh thanked the team and there are plans to retire his jersey. So it ended on a much better note than maybe we all thought it would a year ago.
Look at what the ‘Big Three’ did accomplish — four straight championship appearances and two titles — where do you put this team?
It’s one of the best, ever. It's hard to get to four straight NBA finals. And the Heat won two championships in terms of the super team era. They were kind of the first ones to really be a legitimate super team. I know people look at the Boston Celtics and what they did with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But the reality is getting players in their prime the way the Heat did, having that grand entrance, the big celebration, all of that stuff, the Heat were the first of their kind. So many other NBA teams are sort of doing the same thing trying to build super teams. To me, the Heat changed basketball.
Fans will remember when LeBron James said not one title, not two, not three, etc. How would you describe what this team meant to the city of Miami?
You had the '72 Dolphins, right? The perfect team, the perfect season. I think people look at that team and thought that that team was really special. Well the next Miami team that I think sort of captured the heart of the city in the same way was the ‘Big Three’ and after four years of playing at the game's highest level with that swagger, it was really fun and to me it's probably one of the best eras ever of sports in South Florida. I can't see many others besides the '72 Dolphins or maybe the '80s with the Miami Hurricanes and their run of championships. I think the ‘Big Three’ era if you had to rank them all, I think they're right up there, maybe even No. 1 all time.
Does the Heat team have to build another super team to compete again?
Well those guys will tell you no. I've talked to the players about whether a super team is necessary to win a championship and they don't believe it. But in the NBA, now certainly, elite players do feel like they have to team up with another superstar to have any chance of winning a championship and everything you've seen in free agency and in the last two months with trades etc., everybody is going for it. Pat Riley might do it a different way. They really like the players that they had on last year's team and I think they're going to try to build it that way.
WLRN Intern Allison Light contributed to this story.