It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Chris Bosh would accept a pay cut to stay in Miami, but that isn't so clear now that LeBron James' agent is entertaining offers elsewhere. Therefore, many in the league believe Bosh can be swept away for a maximum contract, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger:
Multiple league sources say there will be a close-to-max market for Bosh if Anthony and James stay with their respective teams. One of those people, an executive with a rival team, said the growing belief around the league is that Bosh would prefer a four-year max deal with another team to a discounted longer deal with Miami.
It's not a surprise that teams would pursue Bosh, and indeed, the Rockets already have. But is Bosh really going to leave the comforts of Miami?
Why he would leave
Bosh is certainly worth a maximum contract, as Paul Flannery notes:
In normal times, Chris Bosh would be a coveted player in free agency with teams tripping all over themselves in a race to offer him a maximum contract. Still just 29 years old, Bosh is a nine-time All-Star with two championship rings and is coming off a season in which he established himself as the league's most versatile defensive big man.
One could even argue -- as Tom Ziller did -- that Bosh is a more complete player than Carmelo Anthony, the other big free agent teams are pursuing. Bosh's combination of shooting, intelligence and elite defense makes any team better, whether it's done from the power forward or center spot.
And with Miami's situation uncertain, Bosh should reach a point where he grows tired of waiting. There was widespread belief that James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade mutually agreed on their contracts before free agency began, but that has since been disputed. The trio instead appears to be waiting on Pat Riley to upgrade the team with whatever remaining cap space he has, but he's struck out so far on big names and seems resigned to settle for smaller ones. If that continues, it'd be well within Bosh's rights to look elsewhere.
Why he wouldn't leave
Bosh has been public about his desire to stay with Miami, even if it requires a pay cut. While the Heat appear to be in a holding pattern, they still present Bosh with the best opportunity to win. Bosh remade his game in Miami and has comfort and familiarity with Erik Spoelstra's scheme and style of play. It's still far too early to know if Miami's free agent plans have blown up in smoke.
Keep in mind, too, that the people quoted in Berger's original story include rival executives that are likely hoping to steal Bosh away too. They have a vested interest in the Heat forward considering other options.
Likelihood: 4 out of 10
As much as it makes sense for Bosh to look elsewhere, this report feels like the kind of thing we often see early in free agency that ends up being resolved. It's still just July 5, so there's plenty of time for James to hear other pitches, then ultimately decide to stay in Miami. Should that happen, the Bosh domino will seamlessly fall into place.