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ESPN: Chris Bosh Headed For Miami

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ESPN's Chris Broussard quotes a confident source as saying that Toronto forward Chris Bosh is going to join Dwayne Wade in Miami, either by a sign-and-trade or a straight free agent deal.

Whether LeBron James, the kingpin of this summer's celebrated free agent class, will join them remains to be seen. James will announce his decision Thursday night at 9 ET during a one-hour special on ESPN.

The timing of this news seems to further indicate that James will be staying in Cleveland ("alone") - or at least that he's probably not going anywhere that Bosh wanted to go - after he and Bosh reportedly were interested in playing together but could not agree on where. Broussard seems to think that the Knicks and Heat are still in the running, with the season premier of the LeBron James Signing Special about 36 hours away.

Knicks gaining major ground in LeBron Sweepstakes. Bosh snub hurts Cavs, though they're still in hunt

My first thought upon reading the ESPN headline was that the Bulls may have gone from odds-on favorites as biggest winners in this offseason to one of its biggest losers. 

As for the Mavericks, this appears to impact them in a few different ways:

First, their pipe dream of acquiring Wade has been laid to rest. The same is true of Chris Bosh, though even the optimistic Mavs front office never seemed able to generate any hope for him. 

More directly, the Heat, who have made Brendan Haywood a priority, have seen their situation gain clarity. They figure to be especially attractive to Haywood now, so the big question will likely be how they approach all of that cap space. If James shocks the world and joins Wade and Bosh, their space will be used up, and Haywood will probably have one less realistic suitor. But the more likely scenario is that Miami makes Haywood their third free agent target, and the Mavericks will be faced with a decision on whether to work out a sign-and-trade. They have already declared that they are not interested in swapping Haywood in a deal that would bring them Jermaine O'Neal and/or Michael Beasley.

The one small silver lining here is that Jermaine O'Neal could be more likely to move on as a straight mid-level free agent if things work out this way. Dallas reportedly has interest in him in that capacity, though I would guess that their interest in him fits best in their ideal scenario: re-signing Haywood and bringing in O'Neal to be the third big - and that seems very unlikely at this point.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.