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Chris Bosh thinks Heat can still be contenders without LeBron James

Jul 14, 2014, 12:59 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6 Getty Images

Pat Riley did about as well as one could expect in putting together an interesting roster in Miami’s post-LeBron James world. Chris Bosh is getting a lot of money to step back into a key offensive role, and with the additions of Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts the Heat can be even more of the small-ball, aggressive team they had been. In the East, that is a lock playoff team.

Contenders? Um….

Don’t tell Bosh that. Bosh spoke with Tom Haberstroh of ESPN about how good he thinks this Heat team can be.

“I think right now we have the correct infrastructure to compete for a championship,” Bosh said. “We have to get much better at certain positions, and there’s a bunch of things that have to continue to happen. But you know a team like the Spurs, they had a lot of guys that people underestimate, but as a team, they were outstanding.”

Bosh echoed the same sentiments speaking to the Associated Press.

“I can’t lie to you: I’m excited. I’m excited for the challenge,” Bosh said during a break from NBA Africa duties. “I want to step up to the challenge. I feel this is a chance to prove to myself and others that I can still do this.

“I want to see if I can do what’s necessary to go in there and win every night. That’s the challenge of being a leader. It excites me. It’s been a long time and I feel like I’m a much better player and a leader now, so it’ll be fun.”

Good for Bosh. That is exactly what you want to hear from a player. You want your leaders to be positive and believe.

Doesn’t mean I think you should bet on the Heat to win a title in the next couple years.

  1. hehateme2 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    It should be interesting to watch. Let’s see if all of the LeBron haters follow him back to Ohio.

    • benszen - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      wade has only one game – attack the rim – take a beating, get up – do it again, unfortunately his body is hurtin and he missed over 30 games

  2. tigeralum2010 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Lol – contender for a second round exit. Sorry Bosh but LBJ was the heart of that team. Wade in his prime was so sick but he can’t carry yall anymore.

    • nickjackalson - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      Wade in his prime was a sight to behold, enjoyed his ruthlessness more than Kobe´s

      in my book a prime Wade comes second only to MJ all time sg

      (in their prime..obviously Kobe is still #2)

      • jimbo75025 - Jul 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        Dude, the “prime” Wade didn’t last very long. He dominated that 2006 Finals series with Dallas, but started getting hurt shortly thereafter and has not really been the same since. Granted, with LBJ and Bosh the last 4 years, he has not had to be “the guy”, but I do not think it is a stretch to say Wade is only a better than average player now-living a lot off peoples past memories of him.

    • benszen - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      bosh is afraid of contact, coasted while lbj carried the team, i would be surprised if bosh has any ability at all to lead the heat, wade is ready to retire, he doesn’t even want to play in the post-season – he openly admitted it – too hard on his body. Heat would have been better to start young and fresh.

  3. 4thquartermagic - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    They’ll be contenders because its the east.

    I do wish Bosh luck in returning to is Toronto form. Dude is really underrated by casual b-ball fans. Guy has skills that were minimized so he could play with Wade and #6.

  4. bucrightoff - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    They can definitely still win the Eastern Conference. They’ll get killed by the Spurs or Thunder in the Finals however.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      The Spurs might get killed by the Mavs.

      • goraidersgospurs - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Go Luck with that!!!

      • goraidersgospurs - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Good Luck with that!!!

      • spursareold - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        Spurs were one un-called VC travel away from taking the Mavs out in 5.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Nah. If the Mavs lost Game 3 they would’ve just won Game 4.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        If? Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

      • spthegr8 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        “Spurs get killed by the Mavs”.?? LMAO!!! Good one Anti.

      • robigd - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        So now, the Mavs and OKC are better than the 2013-2014 Spurs. Soon, Portland and Miami will be better too.

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      I don’t know about that. Bosh is good, but he never took Toronto past the 1st round, and I don’t think Wade ever made it past the 2nd on his own either (when he was awesome). I think they make it to the second round pretty easy cause the east is still kind of weak, but I have doubts about them in the second, much less the Eastern Conference finals. Could I see this Miami team beating a full strength Bulls or Indiana or Cleveland? Especially the Bulls, I don’t think so, that front court will destroy Miami. But still this is why they play the games, they might come out, Deng is Quality, Bosh is quality, and Wade can be for a while (not sure how long, but we will just have to see). But If I had to pick two teams for ECF right now, it would be Bulls and Cavs, not Miami.

      • rrhoe - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        2006 dude,D-wade lead the Heat to a championship……

      • handsomerob86 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        With Shaq, and the refs. D-Wade is significantly less athletic, and Bosh is not Shaq, even the 2006 version.

      • kinggw - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        If the Cavs don’t add Love or another star, I don’t think they are much better than Miami if at all. Remember, the core of this team couldn’t make it to the playoffs and they ditched all of the veteran guys that would’ve helped them get through the playoffs like Jack, etc.

        Right now its Irving, James, Varejao and a bunch of very young guys. I think the Wizards are better than the Cavs right now. I expect them to add pieces over the next few months and get better. At this very minute, the Cavs are designed to compete in 2016 not 14′-15′.

      • hornet0123 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        @rrhoe, I think Shaq had a bit to do with that too

  5. antistratfordian - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    That was an interesting interview. What I thought was most enlightening was what he said about the Big 3 decision making process, which was that they didn’t consult each other and they each made their choices separately. Apparently they never talked about contracts during their lunch meeting – Bosh said it was just friends having lunch and nobody talked about contracts or the team.

    According to certain fans that meeting was supposed to be where LeBron convinced Bosh and Wade to opt out. Nope.

  6. shadowgamesshades - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Won’t win without Lebron. Sorry Bosh.

  7. rrhoe - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    So much of the Heats fortunes are tied to Wade and Bosh. If Wade continues the skipping of games there’s no LeBron to carry the load and I may be the in the minority here but I am not buying that Bosh will turn back the clock and be a dominant player again. I know all will say he sacrificed for the sake of the team but I am not buying that either,when healthy Wade was very good,he found a way to impact games. I take a healthy Wade over Bosh anyday,and now all just think Bosh gonna “turn it on” because he was being “held back” by LeBron,this the same Bosh that you all were questioning the past four years……

    • mogogo1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      Wade is the real question to me. I’m not sure Bosh can carry a team by himself but the one thing he’s demonstrated is he’ll adjust his game and ego for the good of the team as a whole, even if that means 2-3 guys getting more touches than him. I’m not fully sold Wade can do that. He took a back seat to LeBron but whether he’ll do that for Bosh or anybody else is an open question.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        My big question will be Wade’s knees. Did Spo and the Heat allow Wade to take all of those games off because he needed it or because they could afford it since LeBron was there? I guess we’ll find out this season.

      • realfootballfan - Jul 14, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        They gave him time because they know his knees have a shelf life. The injury he had way back in college is essentially the same type of knee injury both Westbrook and Derek Rose have had to their knees. I think he had his meniscus removed instead of getting it repaired, which allowed him to come back quicker but also left him with knees in his 30s that you’re witnessing. There really is no fix for that lost meniscus except for maintenance surgeries and giving him rest from time to time, but it also probably helped James turn his back on that team since maybe he didn’t understand the extent of Wade’s dilemma until getting a close up look inside of the organization when he got there. I know there was a report out there that he was upset that Wade was sat by the coaching staff and Riley as many games as he was while he logged so many minutes. There was more that went into this decision than just the home sweet home story. I think this put James on an accelerated timeline to leave Miami, which I believe he always planned to do, because of what is going on with Wade, and we’ll see if he was right to bail early or not.

    • kinggw - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      You don’t have to buy it. The facts are Bosh was a 20/10 guy in Toronto prior to coming to Miami. He’s matured as a player and is better than the guy who came to Miami.

      Over the past few years Bosh has proven that he can be the man. This past season when both James and Wade were out, he put the team on his back and beat the Blazers by his lonesome.

    • soopreme - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      Agreed.
      Bosh had plenty of opportunities to seize the number 2 spot on Miami with Wade being always hurt.
      With Lebron, if you have it going you will keep getting the rock so from what I watched all season (all 82 games) Bosh couldn’t grab what was there for the taken.
      After awhile, if you are not getting it done, no one is gonna look for you.
      You have to take the opportunity when it presents itself and he could not do it.

      • soopreme - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        I am in agreement with rrhoe

  8. sjtorpitt - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Tigeralum, you’re taking his statement too seriously. A player can’t/won’t just come out and say “no, we won’t contend this year.” Deep down he knows they won’t be able to win a 7 game series against certain teams in the east.

    • doc305 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      But Lebron said just that in his exit letter. He said that they won’t be winning rings just yet… and the key to Bosh’s statement is that he believes the Heat have the infrastructure to win championships. That infrastructure is the coaching and management staff. I hope people realize that Bosh staying was not only the money, Houston offered basically the same money, only one less year. Bosh stayed because the management of the Heat is one of the best in the league. Miami has had six total coached in the entirety of it’s history. Since 95′ (Pat Riley era) they’ve had three.

  9. stipez - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Miami is now the Toronto of Florida

    • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      I dont get it

  10. dj3garrett - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I wonder what style of play they’ll use… Will they get a legit center and move Bosh back to the 4 or will they stay small… Lebron was a huge reason they were able to play small… They’re still a bad rebounding team (maybe worse without Lebron)… I think they should have offered Dengs money to Gasol and just slid James Ennis to the starting 3… Bosh is a much better player when he’s not battling centers… Cole, Wade, Ennis, Bosh, and Gasol is a good lineup…

  11. clevelandschronic2 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    This is funny. Hope they make the playoffs so we get their pick(1st rd) but no way they make it far,wade wont hold up

    • doc305 - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Lol, me too! The pick is only top 10 protected, so it will almost definitely go to Cleveland. Miami didn’t have a 1st in this draft either, but as usual Pat Riley, found a way in there.

  12. timcast12 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    It’s sad that you actually think the Mavs could beat the Spurs. So basically the Mavs could of beat Heat. I guess I’m fine with that lol

  13. patsmiley - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    This Heat team will make some noise. They’ve brought back the same team, replaced Lebron with Deng, and added some nice pieces in McRoberts and Granger. They may not be the favorites to win the Finals, but in the East, they’ll have as good a shot as anyone to make it to the Finals.

  14. chip56 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    It just dawned on me that with LeBron’s departure and Wade’s deterioration, Chris Bosh is now the best player on the Miami Heat…good luck with that folks.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Bosh is pretty good. Compared to the other “best players on the team” in their division they’re not in a bad place. John Wall, Al Jefferson, Al Horford and Victor Oladipo… Bosh is as good if not better than all.

      • chip56 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Just saying – it’s a dramatic step back from where they were to start last season when Bosh was sort of the middle ground between LeBron and Wade and then the rest of the team. Now it’s Bosh, Wade and the corpse of Luol Deng.

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Were you referring to Deng as a corpse before the news hit that it was the Heat that landed him? Just curious.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Obviously they aren’t as good as last year, but Bosh is still a pretty good player, at least in my opinion. I think he’ll take less threes this year and play more of a traditional big man role.

    • doc305 - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Many experts argued that Bosh was the second best player last year because of the regular absence of Wade. Spo would always say that Bosh was the most important player on the Heat ever since the three joined together in 10′.
      Bottom line is that Miami obviously won’t be near as good as the last few years. But I hope you don’t really think that Miami will become what the Cavs were when Lebron left. Unlike the Cavs at the time, Miami has not fired it’s coach, has added quality players via free agency and are bringing back several players with championship experience. Miami won’t be the number 1 team in the east, but there really aren’t many teams in the east that are that much better. Indiana will be number one again, the Bulls could easily be number one but that all depends on Rose. Outside of those two teams I think the rest of the next tier is relatively even, TOR,WSH,CLV,MIA (Cavs having an obvious advantage and Miami having experience)

  15. reesesteel23 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    If James Ennis’ summer league output isn’t a fluke all they need to do is get Beasley going and see what you can do with Greg Oden. I think Wade is taking a paycut that will surprise a lot of people too. They’re not done adding talent just yet

    • kinggw - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      I don’t think Wade is taking a pay cut. With Lbj gone, Riley is going to give Wade the money he was scheduled to receive over two years. When the next big free agent wave hits in 16,’ Wade will be off the books and if he wants to come back its going to be peanuts. Now they can say they’ve taken care of him.

      If you can’t tell by all of the two year deals being handed out by Riley, the Heat want to remain a viable team for the time being, but the goal is to become elite again in the summer of 16′ where I think only McRoberts and Bosh will be on the books. Ennis looked good in the summer league, but I would still like the Heat to bring back Beasley and give him some minutes, they will need his scoring ability.

  16. claymatthewshairplugs - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    This isn’t a bad team by all means and in the east probably a top 3 team behind Cleveland and Chicago and could make some noise if the pieces fall in place. People dismiss Dwyane Wade but don’t forget when he played last year his per was among the highest in the league. Chris Bosh is basically Pau Gasol with more range, better defense but not as solid in the low post. Deng provides the D that Lebron did without all the playmaking abilities and now they’ll likely be less relying on one ball dominant player as in years past. Will they be better without Lebron. No way! But if people think this team will all of a sudden suck, really don’t know basketball. A 20/10 Bosh and a healthy Dwyane Wade (that’s the question) can and will make noise.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      I tend to agree. I was saying last week that this Heat team will be better than people think. And if they get a favorable slot in the playoffs, they might (or at least, can) make it to the ECF.

    • akmia78 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Excited about this Heat team. No more coasting through the regular season. Every game will matter.

  17. hurley711 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    I’m curious to see if Bosh remains a stretch 4/5 or is asked to go back down on the block at all. He hasn’t had to post up in how many years, can you just refind that form again in 1 offseason if he is asked to?

  18. bringin1234 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    immediately following the interview, Bosh went back to his car and cried while looking at the polaroid of him and Lebron

    • bhinrichs9 - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Is the joke that Bosh still uses Polaroid cameras?

      • bringin1234 - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        yes, yes that’s it precisely

  19. foz0606 - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    If Wade was still his old self, sure, they’d still be a legitimate threat to win the East. Obviously he isn’t anymore. I do feel though that Wade will have a better understanding on how to prepare himself since last season was the first time he had to start sitting out games, which should lend himself to look fresher in the playoffs. He probably needs to drop some weight as well. Either way you slice it, he’s gonna sit out his fair share of games from here on out(back-to-backs for sure). Nonetheless, his knee is never going to get better so subsequently don’t see them winning.

  20. csbanter - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    All of sudden Bosh is now talking like he’s the Alpha Male on the Heat, but for the past 4 years he spent his time photo-bombing Lebron like a bi…yatch.

  21. andreboy1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Bosh has skills but he’s got no balls.

    He’s proven that when he scored 0 points in game 7 and collapsed after they lost to Dallas in the Finals.

    He’ll put up 20+ points and 9-10 boards but he won’t lead you anywhere near a title.

    They need Wade to find the fountain of youth if they want to be any sort of legit contenders.

  22. cueghost - Jul 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Yeah the Heat are still contenders…. for the 6 Seed.

    • jollyjoker2 - Jul 14, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      He is contending for the best ticket salesmen but he needs a practice.

  23. bigbamboom1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Miami will still be good with the roster Riley has put together IMO. But if that new Point Guard is the real deal and smart facilitator they need. Bosh can become a 24 point 12 rebound kind of player again. And that would make them very good. Deng is very under rated in this rotation right now. But pairing him with even an 80% Wade, will make them potent. Bosh needs to become a bona fide star again. If he does, the Heat has the kind of versatile roster like San Antonio to make a lot of noise in a wide open Eastern Conference playoff picture. This team is not going to fall apart IMO.

  24. mrbiz8505 - Jul 14, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Good news Bosh…..nobody will be there to boo when you get eliminated on your home court.

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