306-bosh-111109

Chris Bosh put up career-high averages of 24 points and 10.8 rebounds a game last season with Toronto. ((Eric Gay/Associated Press))

Chris Bosh has decided to join the Miami Heat and play alongside Dwyane Wade.

The two appeared on ESPN to confirm they will both sign with the Heat, with Bosh commenting on leaving the Toronto Raptors: "That's the business … I have friends there [and] it's pretty much my second home, and to leave that has been difficult."

The announcement ended speculation Bosh might stay in Toronto with the Raptors, where he spent the past seven seasons.

"Before anything else. Thank you Toronto," Bosh wrote on his Twitter account following the announcement. "I wouldn't be here without you all and I will miss you. Your support and love kept me going."

But it did not clear up whether he will sign with the Heat or join the team through a sign-and-trade deal involving Toronto, a nearly $30-million question.

Bosh could earn $125 million US over six years through the sign-and-trade option, but only $96 million in five seasons without it. The decision belongs to the Raptors, who reportedly don't have any interest in what Miami would offer.

"I have nothing official from anyone," Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said in a text message to The Associated Press. A Raptors official said there would be no further comment from the team.

Wade said Bosh's decision to come to Miami made his choice easier.

"I'm so glad it's over," Wade said in an interview with the AP. "I had to do what was best for me, and I know I did that."

The other question that remains is whether the top star in the free agency sweepstakes will join them in Miami, but that will be cleared up on Thursday night. LeBron James confirmed on his relaunched website that he will end his free agency with an announcement Thursday night on ESPN.

It was also reported that James was heavily recruiting Bosh to sign with the Cavaliers, but the forward balked at that scenario.

"I expect us to compete for a championship," Bosh, who averaged a career-best 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds last season for Toronto. 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."

Bosh and Wade should officially be announced as teammates on Thursday, the day when the NBA moratorium on signing contracts ends.

With files from the Associated Press