The Knicks have joined the Sixers and incumbent Pelicans as teams interested in restricted free agent Norris Cole, but New Orleans seems likely to either re-sign him or match another team’s offer sheet, according to Hoops Rumors contributor Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter link). However, New York has reportedly agreed to a deal with fellow Rich Paul client Kevin Seraphin for the apparent cost of the $2.814MM room exception, limiting the Knicks to the minimum salary if they can’t engineer a sign-and-trade.
Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops identified the Sixers as a suitor in mid-July, around the same time that John Reid of The Times Picayune heard that the Pelicans remained interested. New Orleans has only been willing to go so far, as Reid reported about a month ago, and the most recent dispatch from Scotto indicated that Cole saw the prospect of signing his $3.037MM qualifying offer as a viable option.
New York is relatively thin in the backcourt, with Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant poised to become the primary backups for Jose Calderon and Arron Afflalo. Galloway and Grant have just a half-season of NBA experience between them, while Cole was in the rotation for back-to-back champs as a member of the Heat. The Wizards, Thunder, Bucks and Cavs all reportedly had interest in trading for Cole while he was still with the Heat as the February trade deadline approached, but as a restricted free agent months after Miami sent him to the Pelicans in the three-team Goran Dragic trade, the market for him has seemed cooler.
Do you think Cole will sign an offer sheet with the Knicks, Sixers or another team, or do you think he and the Pelicans will work something out? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.