The Miami Heat is better and more entertaining without Chris Bosh. Since the All-Star break, the team has been scorching the scoreboard. Why? The six-foot-11 power forward's absence has forced head coach Erik Spoelstra to implement a fast-tempo offense led by point guard Goran Dragiç.
After Bosh was diagnosed with a blood clot in his left calf, forcing him from the lineup for the second consecutive season, the Heat might have folded. Instead, the team has grown stronger and faster.
One important step was snagging All-Star Joe Johnson — who earned $24 million in 2015 — for a measly $414,000 for the rest of the season. Heat President Pat Riley negotiated the deal without requiring the Heat to pay the NBA luxury tax. This keeps the team in the running to sign Oklahoma Thunder star Kevin Durant, who is the prize free agent this coming off-season.
Since Johnson was inserted into the starting lineup, the Heat has won five straight games. Center Hassan Whiteside continues proving why he should have gained a spot in the All-Star game. He is flourishing without Bosh, whose game forced the Heat to play at a slower, plodding pace.
On February 24, the Heat came within two baskets of knocking out the Golden State Warriors, even though the reigning NBA champs' stars, Stephen
In fact, Dragic, Whiteside, and the rest of the players no longer have to stand around waiting for Bosh or Heat lifer Dwyane Wade to kick the ball out to them. Even if Bosh rebounds and can play again, he doesn't fit as a starter on this team.
The problem is the Heat can't trade Bosh or make him retire. There are three years left on his $118 million
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.