Reports: Chris Bosh agrees to re-sign with Heat on 5-year max deal
Miami managed to retain Bosh despite LeBron James' decision to break up the "Big Three" by leaving for Cleveland and Houston's offer of a four-year, $88 maximum contract. As the incumbent team, Miami had the ability to offer Bosh one more year and greater raises than any outside suitors.
Bosh, 30, averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in 79 appearances last season, posting a 19.1 Player Efficiency Rating and earning the ninth All-Star selection of his career. The 2003 lottery pick arrived in Miami from Toronto in 2010 and was a key piece on the Heat's 2012 and 2013 title-winning teams.
A No. 1 scoring option during his Raptors tenure, Bosh embraced his role as a two-way player and complementary scorer behind James and All-Star guard Dwyane Wade. Last season, he ramped up his three-point shooting, hitting a game-clinching triple in Game 2 of the Finals against the Spurs.
SI.com ranked Bosh at No. 3 on our "Top 25 Free Agents of 2014" list, behind only James and Carmelo Anthony.
This is the price of keeping a championship team from completely imploding. Had Bosh left for Houston, the Heat would have faced the prospect of building around an aging Dwyane Wade, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. That's not even a "Medium Three."
Retaining Bosh allows Miami to pitch free agents on joining a playoff-tested All-Star duo in one of the league's most desirable markets. Replacing James is an impossibility, but if the Heat can add a Luol Deng or a Trevor Ariza, they should be in position to compete for a top-four seed in the East with a little luck.
Although critics harp on Bosh because he's not the most physical player, Houston's interest reinforced that he absolutely remains a max-level talent. His versatility is hard to come by for a player his size, and he should be able to scale up nicely into a larger offensive role next season. Don't be surprised if he finishes the 2014-15 season as Miami's leading scorer thanks to his efficient mid-range shooting and developing range. Committing to making Bosh one of the league's highest-paid players through his 35th birthday would make many teams think twice, but Heat president Pat Riley didn't exactly have a lot of time for second thoughts once James bolted. The good news: Bosh has avoided serious injury throughout his career, and his game should age well, even if he's forced to play more minutes going forward.