MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James went first. Dwyane Wade followed a few days later. And now Chris Bosh has made it a clean sweep.
The Big 3, for now anyway, are free.
And Pat Riley will soon have the chance to make the Miami Heat even better.
Bosh told the Heat on Sunday that he, like James and Wade, will be exercising the early termination option in his contract and forgoing the final two years on his Miami deal — making him a free agent. The move was not unexpected, and gives the Heat a gigantic amount of financial flexibility to shop with when the free-agent window officially opens at midnight Tuesday.
Bosh’s decision was the last domino that the Heat needed to fall in order to free up the biggest amount of money possible heading into free agency.
“Chris is one of the most versatile and dynamic big men in this league, and he has been an instrumental key to our championship success over the last four seasons,” Riley, the Heat president, said in a statement released by the team. “We look forward to meeting with Chris and his agent in the coming days to discuss keeping him in Miami for many years to come.”
Riley expressed similar sentiments when James opted out Tuesday and Wade exercised his option Saturday.
“I like it here,” Bosh, who averaged 16.2 points this past season, told The Associated Press this month. “It’s Miami. Enough said. People are dying to get here.”
Like James, Bosh could have made $20,590,000 this coming season, and $22,112,500 in the 2015-16 season. Wade was due to make slightly less in each of those years, but between those three and Udonis Haslem — who did not exercise a player option to make $4.6 million next season — that’s about $66 million in salary that Miami could have been locked in to paying if these decisions went another way.
Instead, the thinking seems to be that in order for the Heat to get better, players knew they needed to give Riley room to work.