When the Los Angeles Lakers announced that they were teaming up with UCLA Health to build the team’s new practice facility, the belief was that it would help the Lakers attract big name free agents. While that has held mostly true, it’s not exactly quite what it sounds like.
Earlier this month, two-time NBA champion and actual velociraptor Chris Bosh was spotted at the Lakers practice facility chatting it up with general manager Rob Pelinka, who Bosh signed to represent him just under a year ago in November 2016.
Chris Bosh & Rob Pelinka chatting it up at Lakers practice pic.twitter.com/GashSSB2VN— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 3, 2017
While it was odd to see Bosh at the Lakers’ practice facility, it made sense. Two former colleagues catching up and talking about the game they love. Nothing more, nothing less.
That was the first time.
Then on Wednesday, following the Lakers’ preseason loss to the Utah Jazz, Bosh was seen at the practice facility again.
Now it could be nothing. After all, former players stop by all the time. Former Laker Lamar Odom was seen at a handful of the Lakers’ early summer workouts and Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was present during Bosh’s second visit to the practice facility.
The only problem with that logic is:
- Chris Bosh isn’t a former Laker fan favorite and
- He visited the practice facility not once, not twice (okay, just twice) this month.
Bosh, who resides in Los Angeles full-time after being waived by the Miami Heat in July for issues regarding his health, hasn’t played an NBA game since February 2016 and while Bosh is technically a free agent, the chances of his playing another NBA game are slim to none.
A medical review by the NBA, alongside the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association), decided Bosh’s issues with his blood clots were career-ending. Bosh could always make a return to the hardwood, assuming he is completely healthy, but there is a reluctance among league executives to take that risk, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
But what if the new-look front office, in an effort to accelerate their rebuild, are the team crazy enough to take that chance? It’s not impossible.
A month after his last played NBA game, Bosh was asked by a TMZ reporter if he expected to make a return to the NBA, to which he responded by saying “[I’m] always thinking about playing, my brother.”
“My health is great, feeling great,” Bosh added.
Should the Lakers be the team to give him his shot at an NBA comeback, he would be a perfect fit.
Bosh, in his final season with the Miami Heat, put up per game averages of 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.6 blocks through 53 games, something only Kevin Durant, LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins were able to do that season.
Bosh was also shooting 36.5 percent from behind the arc on a career-high 4.2 attempts per game before being shut down for the remainder of the 2015-16 season. He and Durant were the only two players in the league to average at least 36.5 percent from 3 while averaging at least 7.4 rebounds per game that season.
While the Lakers’ logjam in the frontcourt is already horrific, pairing Bosh with another legitimate seven-footer that can block shots and space the floor in Brook Lopez would be a ton of fun to watch, assuming he comes back the same player he was nearly two years ago.
Unfortunately, that’s not likely the case. At 33 years old, Bosh’s days as a perennial All-Star are behind him. By the time the 2017-18 regular season ends, Bosh will be 34. In the event he did make the Lakers’ final 15-man roster, Bosh would have to fight for minutes with the Lakers’ younger players, including rookie sensation Kyle Kuzma, who idolized Bosh growing up.
“[Chris Bosh] was one of my favorite players,” Kuzma said. “I’ve always loved his game, back when he was in Toronto and of course, Miami, so it was pretty cool.”
Should Bosh fail to make an NBA comeback this season, he would be a nice addition to the Lakers’ coaching staff. Bosh expressed interest in being involved with the younger generation of NBA talent in an interview on “Larry King Now” in April.
“I will always be around the game of basketball,” Bosh said. “If I do [coach], it would be young minds.”
The Lakers will have to finalize their 15-man roster before the regular season tips off on Oct. 19. Hopefully, Bosh will be involved with the team one way or another as the Lakers continue to their rebuild and prepare for next summer’s star-studded free agency class. headlined by Bosh’s longtime friend LeBron James.