Chris Bosh has not played in an NBA game since Feb. 9, 2016, after which the Heat’s all-star center was forced to sit out the second half of the season for the second year in a row with blood clot issues. Bosh did not play at all this season, although he’s maintained the position that he is healthy enough to play. The Miami Heat have insisted that Bosh’s injury is career-ending, and if the NBA agreed with their assessment, the team would be allowed to waive Bosh and clear his albatross of a salary from their cap.
This afternoon, the Miami Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald, and the Palm Beach Post all reported that a medical review carried out by a doctor with a joint mandate from the NBA and the NBA players’s association (NBPA) has confirmed that Bosh’s blood clot issues do indeed constitute a career-ending injury. All parties involved agreed on the review last week, per ESPN, in order to close a saga that’s dragged on for years before the flurry of transactions that comes with the onset of summer. The Heat can now waive Bosh whenever they want and he’ll still get all of the remaining $52.1 million left on his contract, even if insurance covers most of it.
The precise mechanisms that permit the Heat and Bosh to part in such a way were hashed out in negotiations for the new NBA CBA, which kicks in at the end of this month. Under the old CBA, a potential Bosh return would saddle the Heat with cap penalties if he played 25 games or more for another team. The two sides reportedly took this long to come to an agreement because they needed to wait for the new CBA to take effect. Here is the section of the new CBA that pertains to Bosh’s case:
A player shall be deemed to have suffered a career-ending injury or illness if it is determined (i) by a such physician or Fitness to Play Panel that the player has an injury or illness that (x) prevents him from playing skilled professional basketball at an NBA level for the duration of his career, or (y) substantially impairs his ability to play skilled professional basketball at an NBA level and is of such severity that continuing to play professional basketball at an NBA level would subject the player to medically unacceptable risk of suffering a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness, or (ii) by such Fitness to Play Panel that the player has an injury or illness that would create a materially elevated risk of death for the player.
Bosh has made his case for why he should be allowed back in the NBA, and he can still return to the court in the future. The new CBA would put a mandatory nine-month waiting period in place before a player who has been medically ruled out could try to come back, but Bosh will be grandfathered in under the old CBA and could try to return immediately. He would need to clear a panel of doctors picked by the NBPA and the league (including the same one who just rules him unfit to play) and present them with sufficient evidence of “materially changed circumstance.”
Ira Winderman reports that the league would be reluctant to flip its decision, especially given that blood clots can be deadly. There’s a chance Bosh’s health could improve, but this is most likely the last we’ve seen of Chris Bosh in the NBA.