(Reuters) - The Miami Heat went on the offensive after losing LeBron James on Friday by agreeing to a massive five-year, $118 million deal to retain nine-time All-Star Chris Bosh, according to a Yahoo report.
Free agent James had broken up Miami’s so-called ‘Big Three’ by announcing he would return to his home state of Ohio and sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers after winning two NBA titles with Miami.
James agreed to a reported four-year, $88 million deal.
Bosh, who averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, had appeared headed to the Houston Rockets, who had offered him four years and $88 million to join Dwight Howard and James Harden before the Heat upped the ante after the exit by James.
The third member of the prodigious trio, Dwyane Wade, was also widely expected to remain in Miami.
The 32-year-old Wade, who has been battling injury problems, predated James and Bosh with the Heat and won an NBA title there in 2006 along with Shaquille O’Neal, and would likely be more valued by Miami than any other NBA team.
The decision by James to sign with the Cavaliers was expected to set off a chain of free agent signings with Carmelo Anthony leading a remaining class that included Luol Deng, Lance Stephenson, Trevor Ariza and Pau Gasol.
Before the James decision, Heat president Pat Riley had virtually ruled out the chances of Miami being able to afford adding free agent Anthony. Now money may not be a chief concern for the Heat.
Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points last season for the New York Knicks, was mulling over offers from the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and the Knicks, who could offer him the richest deal - a five-year, $129 million contract under NBA rules.
According to multiple media reports, the Lakers have acquired point guard Jeremy Lin and a first-round pick in a deal with the Houston Rockets while the Phoenix Suns have reached agreement on a four-year, $27 million contract for Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York and Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry