3:17pm: In his full report on the Grizzlies’ point guard options, Scotto confirms Cole has an NBA out in his contract with the Golden Stars, and identifies Chalmers and Xavier Munford as other potential options for Memphis.
2:50pm: With Mike Conley expected to be sidelined until sometime in January, the Grizzlies appear to be exploring ways to fortify their point guard spot. According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter), Memphis has expressed interest in veteran point guard Norris Cole.
Cole, 28, averaged a career-high 10.6 PPG and 3.7 APG last season in 45 games for the Pelicans, but was unable to land a deal with an NBA team as a free agent this offseason. The point guard, who started his career with the Heat when Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale was an assistant in Miami, ultimately signed with China’s Shandong Golden Stars.
There have been conflicting reports about whether or not Cole’s contract in China includes an NBA out. The fact that the Grizzlies have expressed interest in him suggests the deal may feature an out after all, since Memphis is looking for immediate help. The Chinese Basketball Association season runs through February, so Cole won’t be available until late in the NBA season if there’s no opt-out available in his deal.
With Conley sidelined, Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin are the Grizzlies’ go-to options at the point, and neither player has a whole lot of NBA experience. If Memphis is eyeing veteran point guards with connections to Fizdale, Mario Chalmers could also be an option, but he’s still recovering from an Achilles injury and may not be ready to play quite yet.
The Grizzlies currently have a full 15-man roster, but may not need to waive anyone to add a new player — with Chandler Parsons, Brandan Wright, and James Ennis also on the shelf, the team will soon be eligible to apply for a hardship exception to add a 16th man.