The Heat and Norris Cole will forgo an extension before tonight’s 11:00pm Central deadline, setting up the point guard for restricted free agency next summer, reports Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). A report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com overnight indicated that an extension was unlikely, and aside from Stein’s dispatch from two weeks ago indicating that the sides were in talks, the rumor mill has been quiet about any extension for the 28th overall pick from the 2011 draft.
That’s no surprise, since Cole has spent almost his entire time with the Heat as a backup to Mario Chalmers, to whom the Heat committed a new two-year, $8.3MM deal this summer. Chalmers nonetheless came off the bench behind Cole in Miami’s opener, signaling a larger role for the 26-year-old as he embarks on what’s now a walk year.
Cole, a native of Dayton Ohio who went to Cleveland State University, dropped agent Joel Bell over the summer in favor of Rich Paul and Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents former teammate LeBron James. Klutch has reportedly been using the prospect of James’ influence with the Cavs to sell potential clients on the idea that they can receive a favorable deal from Cleveland if they join the agency. Still, there have been no reports linking Cole to the Cavs.
The Heat apparently turned away inquiries about Cole at the trade deadline last year, but a report over the summer indicated the team was dangling him in trade talk. In any case, he’ll be playing this season on an expiring contract with a salary of more than $2.038MM. Miami has nearly $42.2MM in commitments for 2015/16, but that doesn’t include more than $18MM in player options for Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Danny Granger. Perhaps more importantly, the lack of an extension for Cole also preserves Miami’s flexibility for the summer of 2016, when the Heat are set to be major players in the free agent market.