Norris Cole sees the prospect of signing his qualifying offer of more than $3.037MM from the Pelicans as a viable option, a league source tells Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops, who writes amid a roundup on the top remaining free agents. The Sixers have interest, as Scotto reported two weeks ago, but it’s unclear how far that interest extends, as Scotto writes in his latest piece.
The Pelicans are apparently only willing to go so far themselves, so it’s not a shock that Cole would consider the chance to take the one-year qualifying offer and hit unrestricted free agency next summer, when the cap is set to surge to a projected $89MM. The market for the Rich Paul client has seemed cool this summer compared to the weeks leading up to the February trade deadline, when Wizards, Thunder, Bucks and Cavs all reportedly had interest before the Pelicans acquired him from the Heat in the three-team Goran Dragic trade.
Anthony Davis said Monday that he hopes Cole is back with the Pelicans, as John Reid of The Times Picayune notes (Twitter link). New Orleans let the deadline for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers pass last week, a signal that the Pelicans maintain at least some level of interest, and indeed, Reid has consistently heard that’s the case. The Pelicans have been carrying 13 deals and are well below the $84.74MM tax threshold, so they have flexibility. Another key date looms Saturday, when the minimum salary for Toney Douglas would go from non-guaranteed to fully guaranteed if he remains under contract through that day.
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