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Instead of pursuing a front-office position, Howard decided he wanted to coach. “I couldn’t turn that offer down and I have the bug because of him and learning from a guy like [Spoelstra], one of the best coaches in the NBA,” Howard said. “He doesn’t win championships by mistake, obviously he’s doing something right. This is one of the most bright individuals I’ve ever met and that is a fact.” Howard played for one of the most popular and recognized teams in NCAA history with the Michigan Fab Five of the early 1990s. Now he’s coaching players who were born after the quintet left Michigan and have only YouTube video to reference those days. Twenty-plus years later, Howard fully understands the dismay he may have caused some of his coaches, and he uses that experience with his twenty-something crew.
“It came towards the end of my career when I joined the Heat. David Fitzdale is one of the guys who inspired and talked me into coaching,” Howard said. “I’m always going to point the finger at him. At first my mind-set was built on working in the front office, being a scout, and building my way up. “I had a great conversation one time. Coach Fitzdale came to my house and we had a drink of wine and we were talking and he felt like this team needed me. He felt also the way I grabbed the respect from the guys in the locker room and the leadership qualities and also my knowledge and experience from the game of basketball, that it would be needed on his staff.”
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Some in the Bosh camp remain angry and suspicious of the Heat’s intentions, wondering if Miami was motivated by clearing cap space. A Heat source insists this is not the case, that Miami wants him to play if doctors are comfortable with it. If Bosh doesn’t play a single game this upcoming season, his $25.2 million salary for 2017-18 and $26.8 million for 2018-19 would be cleared this summer from Miami’s cap only if “a doctor that is jointly selected by the league and players association agree his condition is career-ending, or severe enough to put him at risk if he continues playing.”
Storyline: Chris Bosh Health
An NBA-employed friend says Bosh very much wants to play and believes he should be cleared. If the Heat fights him on this, it wouldn’t be surprising if Bosh takes this issue to the players union, unless Bosh again relents as he did during last year’s playoffs. Pat Riley said the Heat won’t make a decision on Bosh’s status until August or September. With Bosh having two blood clot episodes in consecutive Februaries (one in his leg that traveled to his lungs, another in his calf), we asked two doctors not involved in his treatment whether they would clear him to play.
One doctor, UHealth’s Robert Myerburg, said Bosh wouldn’t be at serious risk playing if he’s off the blood thinners, but he has been skeptical of Bosh’s idea of playing while taking thinners that would be out of his system in 8 to 12 hours. “Someone who has had a second clot is more likely to have another, but the specific circumstances of an athlete might be different,” said Myerburg, considered an expert on athletes’ medical conditions and cardiology. “If you take the total population of people who have had this thing, once you had a second, you’re at risk for a third. But that doesn’t get into the issue of how a subgroup [such as pro athletes] may behave because of things that make them more prone for blood clots.”
Storyline: Chris Bosh Health