After failing to attract interest in free agency this summer, Cole headed to the Chinese Basketball Association in October, but returned from overseas in December after sustaining an injury. Cole is now back to full health, but with the CBA season winding down, the veteran point guard received clearance to pursue NBA opportunities, and found a home with the Thunder. After Cameron Payne was dealt away to the Bulls at the trade deadline, rookie Semaj Christon had been serving as the team's backup point guard behind MVP candidate Russell Westbrook the last two contests, but with a 33.5 percent mark from the field on the season, Christon hasn't proven himself as a viable option for those duties. Cole, a two-time NBA champion with the Heat who has averaged 7.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 rebounds over five NBA seasons, probably amounts to a significant upgrade over Christon, despite his extended time away from the league. While Cole is expected to sit out Tuesday's game against the Jazz in a coach's decision while he gets acclimated with his new team, the 24-year-old could join the Thunder rotation as soon as Thursday against the Trail Blazers. Assuming he quickly settles in as the main backup to Westbrook, Cole would likely be in store for a 10-to-15-minute role in most games, which wouldn't give him much value in deeper leagues.
Cole signed a one-year contract Wednesday with the Shandong Golden Stars of the Chinese Basketball Association, international basketball writer David Pick reports.
After posting career-high averages in a number of categories last season with the Pelicans, including points per game (10.6), assists per game (3.7) and minutes per game (26.6), Cole was unable to attract much interest from NBA teams in free agency. It probably didn't help matters that the 27-year-old had dealt with back problems for a good chunk of the second half of last season, as he ended up suiting up in 45 total games. He'll look to rehabilitate his value in China, but reportedly has an out clause in his contract with Shandong that will allow him to head back to the NBA if an opportunity arises.
Norris Cole (back) will miss Wednesday's season finale against the Timberwolves, ESPN.com's Justin Verrier reports.
Cole wasn't officially ruled out for the season due to his ongoing bout with back spasms, but with 19 consecutive absences heading into Wednesday, he was never expected to return. The veteran point guard is set to become a free agent this offseason, and it's uncertain if the New Orleans Pelicans are interested in bringing him back, especially if Jrue Holiday (eye) and Tyreke Evans (knee) both enter the coming season at full health. Cole was at least a dependable rotation player when called upon this season for the injury-plagued Pelicans, averaging a career-high 10.6 points (on 40.5% shooting from the field) to go along with 3.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 0.7 three-pointers across 26.6 minutes in his 45 appearances.
As expected, Cole hasn't been cleared to return Monday, and with only one more game remaining on the
Norris Cole (back) is listed as questionable for Friday's tilt with the Lakers, Brett Dawson of the New Orleans Advocate reports.
The New Orleans Pelicans continue to list Cole as questionable in advance of every game, despite coach Alvin Gentry's acknowledged that the point guard will likely be shut down for the season. There's been little to indicate Cole is showing enough improvement with his back to play Friday, so expect the status quo to remain in place here.
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 26 |
| 27 || 28 || 1 |
| 2 || 3 |
| 5 |
| 6 |
| 7 || 8 |
| 9 || 10 || 11
|Career Shooting Stats|
|More Postseason Stats|
|College Career Shooting Stats|
|More College Stats|