Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Wade, Bosh choose Miami
ESPN.com news services
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are teaming up together on Wade's Miami Heat, the two free agents said Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear whether Bosh -- who spent seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors -- will sign with Miami outright or join the Heat through a sign-and-trade deal. Bosh could earn $125 million over six years via sign-and-trade, but only $96 million in five without it.
Where will LeBron James's basketball future take him? The NBA's two-time defending MVP will reveal his destination on "The Decision" on ESPN (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET). Stuart Scott, Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon are hosting the hour-long special.
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard first reported that Wade would return to the Heat and Bosh would join him.
Whether LeBron James, the kingpin of this summer's celebrated free-agent class, will join them in Miami remains to be seen. James will announce his decision at 9 p.m. ET Thursday during a one-hour special on ESPN.
Wade and Bosh are expected to get the maximum amount allowable under the league's collective bargaining agreement, though the addition of James could change the players' salaries. Contracts cannot be officially signed until Thursday.
The two players, appearing on ESPN's "SportsCenter," said it was not an easy decision, as Wade was courted by his hometown Chicago Bulls and Bosh called Toronto his "second home." Both also said the signing was not about the money, adding they were willing to sacrifice to help make the Heat a title contender.
League sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that team president Pat Riley was trying to convince Bosh to take the five-year max deal and leave Toronto outright. The Raptors are trying to persuade Bosh to demand a six-year deal and a sign-and-trade so that they get something out of the deal.
Wade and Bosh are also expected, along with Riley, to continue to lobby James, to join them in Miami, despite the financial complexities involved for the Heat to make room for all three. However, neither took the opportunity to further lobby James during their appearance on "SportsCenter," saying they preferred to leave the decision up to him.
Amid a growing sense among rival executives that James intends to stay with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that James is still seriously considering joining forces with Wade and Bosh in Miami and had a discussion about the possibility that all three could wind up playing together for the Heat on a conference call early Wednesday morning.
Earlier this week, the Raptors reportedly had been reluctant to do a sign-and-trade, especially with Miami, contending the Heat did not have any players of interest. But if Bosh leaves outright as a free agent, the Raptors are left with, at most, $4 million in cap space to replace Bosh.
One source with knowledge of Toronto's thinking told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Raptors, as of 9 a.m. ET, had yet to hear anything official from Bosh's camp about his intentions.