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Chris Bosh In, LeBron James Out In Miami

Getty Images via Zimbio

Getty Images via Zimbio

Over the last four years the Miami Heat have been the most dominant team in the league, having reached the NBA Finals in each of the those seasons and walking away with a championship twice.

For the first time since LeBron James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach in July 2010, the Heat went into this offseason with nothing but uncertainty. Their formidable and fabled “Big Three” were all entering the second to last year of their respective contracts and each had the option to opt out.

James didn’t leave us in the dark that long, having announced his decision to opt out just nine days after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the finals. Five days later Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade followed suit, leading many to speculate the two were willing to take a pay cut to keep James in Miami.

Though the behind-the-scenes details of the Big Three’s communication during this process is unknown, what we do know is that James is heading home for a reunion with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Bosh didn’t have to take anything resembling a pay cut to stay with the Heat.

Speculation about a homecoming for James reached a fever pitch over the last week, with The Decision II finally coming on Friday. Just four years ago it was unimaginable that the King would be welcomed back in Cleveland with open arms—the same fans who burned their jerseys in the streets then, were crowded outside James’ suburban home today.

As for Bosh, it looked like he was set to make a move too. The Houston Rockets shipped off Jeremy Lin to Los Angeles in order to make more room for a max contract, but in the end it didn’t work out. Maybe Bosh was serious about the Rockets, although if he was just using them to gain leverage with the Heat, it worked.

Late Friday it was announced that Bosh had agreed to terms on a five-year, max contract deal worth $118 million, which will keep him in Miami. Though he comes with a hefty price tag, Pat Riley did the right thing by keeping Bosh. Sure, he’s no LeBron James—nobody is—but he’s a superstar player in his own right whose contributions have, too often, been unfairly minimized.

The only question that remains is what becomes of Wade. Having played his entire career with the Heat, leaving at this point doesn’t seem likely. But despite his well-known injury issues and steadily declining stats, there’s a chance that Wade might not love the idea of being the only one of the Big Three to take a big pay cut, especially when the other two got big raises and he gave up $41 million over two years by opting out.

Should Wade decide enough is enough in Miami, the Chicago Bulls have reportedly expressed interest in the aging star—an interest that will likely intensify should they lose out on Carmelo Anthony. Either way, a decision doesn’t appear to be imminent, so the saga continues.

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