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Miami retains Wade; Bosh commits; salary cap raised; LeBron a strong possibility

Today will forever be remembered as one of the greatest days in Miami Heat history. Tomorrow may just eclipse it. It’s a hard lesson to learn for other NBA teams, their fans and the national media who pegged the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets as the frontrunners to land the biggest prizes in free agency while all but ignoring the Heat’s chances that they would fulfill their seemingly unrealistic goals: Never underestimate the Miami Heat and Pat Riley. Sure there were some articles here and there about the Heat but these only came out right before July 1st. The only talk during the playoffs and the period in between was all about how great the other teams’ chances were. Only token mentions of the Heat were sprinkled throughout countless articles that were propping up the other major players with cap space. Then all the conjecture, speculation, rumors, gossip gave way to reality. And the reality is that the Miami Heat are now primed to become the epicenter of the NBA whether everyone else likes it or not. (They probably won’t.) Dwyane Wade going back home? Sorry Chicago, he’s coming back home all right. To the American Airlines Arena where everyone here in Miami knows that it’s his house. And he invited a new roommate to join him. Chris Bosh has officially committed to join the Miami Heat in the biggest free agency signing in the history of the young franchise. The 6-11 power forward is in the prime of his career, a five-time All Star and coming off career highs of 24 points and 10.8 rebounds and will be a cornerstone of the franchise for many years to come. But the good news doesn’t end there (as if that wasn’t enough). The NBA just released their official salary cap figure at $58 million, $2 million more than had been estimated. That means that the Heat have even more wiggle room to fit another max contract that could land the reigning NBA MVP LeBron James into the fold of a dynasty squad that would compete for championships for years to come. Should the Heat not land him, they still would have plenty of cap space to build a team around Wade and Bosh that would create depth and roster flexibility. So even Plan B is still a home run for the Heat as they accomplished their original goal of bringing back the greatest Heat player ever and one of the top free agents on the market in the prime of their careers. Thursday will be an interesting day to say the least. Either way LeBron chooses, the Heat will be able to move forward in filling out the rest of the roster with free agency signings permitted. The Heat can move ahead with trying to acquire veterans who are drooling to come to South Beach and get easy looks at the basket with two All-Stars at the top of their games attracting so much attention from the opponent. Older players like Derek Fisher, Raja Bell, Juwan Howard, Theo Ratliff and Kurt Thomas might be had at bargain prices for a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs right out of the gate. If LeBron decides to try his luck elsewhere, attractive free agents like Mike Miller, Jordan Farmar, Shannon Brown, Luke Ridnour, John Salmons, Roger Mason, Louis Amundson, Kyle Korver, Randy Foye, Brendan Haywood and Raymond Felton will be available and Miami will undoubtedly be one of their first choices. Next year the Heat will have even more flexibility to improve their roster regardless of what happens this summer. Wade and Bosh will be here for a long time so there’s no need to worry about the rest of the summer having to be a home run in order to become an elite team in the East. Today marked the beginning of a new chapter of the franchise. Tomorrow may very well rewrite it all over again. And there’s not a thing the media, unnamed sources, NBA execs and rival players can do about it.