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Heat's Bosh 'excited for the challenge' without LeBron

Monday, July 14, 2014 - Updated: 8:12 AM

By TIM REYNOLDS

The Associated Press

Half a world away, Chris Bosh could not escape the frenzy of last week.

An offer from the Houston Rockets was waiting. His longtime Miami teammate LeBron James was leaving. For a few moments, Bosh found himself wondering if his days with the Heat were over.

Then he looked at his family, and everything stopped.

"We've built a life in South Florida and we're comfortable," Bosh said Sunday. "So I had to do what's best now for myself and my family."

With that, his decision became very easy. Bosh will sign a $118 million, five-year deal to stay with the Heat, a formality only held up by the logistical challenge presented by him being in Ghana right now and with more exotic stops on a family vacation still to come before returning home.

When he finally puts pen to paper, the Heat locker room will essentially become his -- and in an interview with The Associated Press, Bosh said that while it's a shock to realize James is no longer with Miami after four seasons, he's ready to have that voice.

"I can't lie to you: I'm excited. I'm excited for the challenge," Bosh said during a break from NBA Africa duties. "I want to step up to the challenge. I feel this is a chance to prove to myself and others that I can still do this.

"I want to see if I can do what's necessary to go in there and win every night. That's the challenge of being a leader. It excites me. It's been a long time and I feel like I'm a much better player and a leader now, so it'll be fun."

Bosh had that role in Toronto before coming to Miami, then was perceived as a No. 3 behind James and Dwyane Wade when they teamed up in 2010 to begin the "Big 3" era with the Heat.

Now, Bosh will be one of the league's highest-paid players over the next five seasons, and with that comes a responsibility role to lead.

"It's a very different process," Bosh said, "but I think I know how to do it."

The Heat called James' decision disappointing, and Bosh acknowledged that there was a "shock factor" when he heard, but Miami is moving on.

     

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