Posted Jul 7 2010 8:34AM - Updated Jul 8 2010 6:21AM
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Dwyane Wade's future was muddled and uncertain, until Chris Bosh told him where he wanted to spend the next few years.
"I'm feeling Miami," Bosh said.
Those three words were all Wade needed to make his decision.
Will they be enough to sway LeBron James to Miami? Stay tuned.
Ending months of speculation, Wade and Bosh announced Wednesday that they'll sign with Miami, two decisions that vault the Heat back into the NBA championship picture and puts them two-thirds of the way to hitting one of the biggest trifectas in NBA history. Wade, Bosh and James all have talked about playing together. On Thursday night, James will say why that will or will not happen.
"It's over," Wade said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's not all over-over, but for me, it's over."
James can't say that yet.
Wade told the Heat that for him to re-sign, the team had to add either James or Bosh. For good measure, they might get both.
"It had to be one or the other," Wade said in the AP interview. "Of course, there's a lot of talented players in this league. But you want to look at players that complement my game, and Chris and LeBron are two of those guys. I had a decision to make. Chris had a decision to make. It wasn't a lock that he would come to Miami. So I had a lot to think about."
James averaged 29.7 points for Cleveland last season, Wade averaged 26.6 points for Miami and Bosh averaged career-bests of 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds for Toronto.
They were the three kingpins of this long-hyped free-agent market, a trio of All-Stars who came into the league together seven years ago and structured their last contracts just to hit the open market together this summer, the last under the current terms of the league's collective bargaining agreement.
Now, the ball is in King James' court.
"I expect us to compete for a championship," Bosh told ESPN. "I think both Dwyane and I, we both wanted an opportunity where right away we would be competing. ... We're ready to sacrifice a lot of things in order to do that. It's not about the money. It's not about anything else except for winning. I'm a winner. Dwyane's a winner. We're going to bring winning to Miami."
That was Heat president Pat Riley's plan.
Around the NBA, the immediate reaction was that Miami is poised to be in the mix for the 2011 title.
"It just makes the East that much better," Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said in Orlando, Fla., where he was watching summer league games.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was more succinct, lauding Bosh as "one of the best forwards in basketball."
"I think they're instant contenders," Van Gundy said. "I don't think there's any doubt. They're instant contenders to win an NBA championship."
Wade's summer of change is now almost complete. He settled four civil lawsuits stemming from failed business deals, finally completed a long-awaited divorce and was awarded temporary custody of his two sons. And the question he'd been hearing for years -- staying or going? -- has an answer.
It wasn't easy.
For Wade, the decision came down to Miami vs. Chicago, adopted hometown vs. actual hometown.
The Bulls almost pulled it off, until Bosh said he was bullish on Miami.
"The good part of this was controlling your own destiny," Wade told the AP. "It really meant a lot to me, and I'm sure if you ask Chris or ask LeBron, they'd say the same. You have a say-so. You can control the destiny of where and what's best for you. And it's not many times in your life or your career if you're going to have that. This is it."
Wade does not know what the terms of his contract will be (he could receive up to $126 million for six years but told AP he would take less if necessary to make other deals work). Bosh doesn't have terms of his deal done either. It's all contingent on what James says Thursday night, and Wade insisted he knows nothing about what the two-time MVP will say or where he'll be saying it from.
"I won't speak to him again until he makes his decision," Wade said in the AP interview. "And when it's over, I will congratulate him."
The Heat still have only four players in the picture for this coming season: Wade, Bosh, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers. Miami is in discussions with several free agents, including Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller, Raymond Felton and Udonis Haslem -- whom Wade has played with in all seven of his previous seasons.
"We'll see what the best thing is for us to win," Wade told the AP. "I'm going to make a lot of money, no matter what happens. I've been blessed. I'm not counting every dollar and every cent. Let's sit down, let's see what the best thing is for us, for the long haul."
Miami came into free agency with around $44 million of cap space, not including $16 million or so earmarked for Wade, thanks to years of avoiding just about any deal where money would have been committed for the 2010-11 season.
It was high-stakes poker, and Riley went all-in that he could get something done to make Wade happy.
Citing league rules, the Heat couldn't express their glee Wednesday, since the NBA's signing moratorium was ongoing.
Wade's oldest son, however, isn't bound by any restrictions.
Zaire Wade, 8, got woken by his father Wednesday with the news: Daddy's staying in Miami.
"For real? Cool," Zaire replied.
Wade knew he made the right choice.
"I felt great this morning, waking up knowing I've got another chapter behind me," Wade told the AP. "Coming into the summer, I knew that I had a court case here, court case there, custody, all these things. Just took one step at a time, and this is another step in the journey of where I wanted to go, forward, not backward."
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Andre Iguodala with the crossover, then dishes the behind-the-back pass to David Lee for the lay-in.