Report: Pistons looking into Norris Cole trade

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With Kemba Walker injured, the Hornets are reportedly exploring a trade for Norris Cole.

Charlotte might have competition.

The Pistons – whose starting point guard, Brandon Jennings, is also injured – are eying the Heat point guard, too.

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

The Detroit Pistons are looking into the possibility of trading for Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole, league sources tell Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Miami has sent the word out that the 26-year-old defensive specialist can be had. There’s nothing imminent at this point and talks have been described as “exploratory,” a source said.

Stan Van Gundy said the Pistons will probably add a third point guard behind D.J. Augustin and Spencer Dinwiddie, but the president/coach also said he wouldn’t give up any future assets or draft picks for one.

Acquiring Cole would almost certainly require Detroit relinquishing something of long-term value. However, Cole could also give the Pistons returns beyond this season, so I’m not sure the strictness of Van Gundy’s self-imposed guideline.

Cole, 26, is averaging 6.2 points and 3.4 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. He’s quick and a solid defender, but his 3-point percentage has troublingly regressed to 24.2 percent after nearing league average the last two years.

He’ll be a free agent after the season, a restricted one if extended a qualifying offer. His qualifying offer will be $4,433,683 if he starts 18 more games or plays 1,011 more minutes this season – or $3,036,927 if he doesn’t.

Dwyane Wade’s injury could affect Miami’s willingness to deal Cole. If Wade misses time, the Heat will likely use Cole more often with Mario Chalmers or Shabazz Napier in two-point guard lineups. Plus, they might hesitate to trade a useful player to a team they’re in playoff competition with. That applies to both Detroit and Charlotte.

The Pistons and Heat have plenty of low-paid players to shuffle if they want to make a deal. But before the exact mechanics get worked out, Van Gundy has to decide whether he’s willing to give up something for help now.