Norris Cole is headed back to the Pelicans, at least for this year. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reports that Cole, a restricted free agent, is signing New Orleans’ qualifying offer (worth about $3 million) after being unable to secure a long-term offer elsewhere.
Cole is a Rich Paul client, just like the other notable free agent still on the market, Tristan Thompson. Paul has threatened this summer to have Thompson sign the qualifying offer with Cleveland and leave next summer as an unrestricted free agent. Their situations are different: Thompson means much more to the Cavs than Cole does to the Pelicans. Cole’s a solid backup point guard and should get a lot of time this year if Jrue Holiday is slow to return from leg surgery, but it’s probably in his best interests to play his way into a longer deal next summer when the salary cap is higher.