Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson wasn’t the only notable restricted free agent struggling to get a new deal done this summer, as New Orleans Pelicans point guard Norris Cole also couldn’t strike a new deal with the Pelicans or any other team. Now, Cole will sign the one-year, $3.03 million qualifying offer to remain in New Orleans, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears.
Interestingly enough, Cole and Thompson share the same agent, Rich Paul. Paul has put it out there that Thompson may sign his qualifying offer and hit unrestricted free agency next summer when the cap goes up, which is what Cole will do now that he’s signed his qualifying offer.
Cole split last season with the Pelicans and Miami Heat thanks to a trade-deadline deal in February. After really struggling in Miami at the beginning of last year, the 26-year-old stepped up his game in New Orleans.
In 28 regular-season games with the Pelicans, Cole averaged 9.9 points and 3.2 assists while shooting 44.4 percent overall and 37.8 percent from three in 24.4 minutes per game. He didn’t perform as well in the postseason, averaging 8.8 points and 1.8 assists while shooting 41.7 percent overall and just 21.4 percent from three in 26.5 minutes per game.
Now heading back to New Orleans for 2015-16, Cole will look to increase his value in the fast-paced offensive system of new head coach Alvin Gentry.