Despite tweeting about it yesterday, I have been asked quite a bit about Norris Cole’s situation. I therefore offer this very rushed post to explain my humble perspective. My apologies for the lack of depth or writing qualify, as I am quite busy today. I hope it helps!
It was a stellar night for Norris Cole.
After being named the opening-night starter for the first time in his career, against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, Cole delivered in a big way. The fourth-year point guard played 27 minutes, went 9 of 15 from the field and scored a career-high 23 points. For a large part of the game, Cole was the only thrilling part of the Heat’s offense.
With that, a significant decision looms for the Miami Heat: Whether to lock him in for the long-term right now.
As with all players selected in the first-round of the 2011 NBA Draft who are playing under their rookie-scale contracts, the Heat are facing an 11:59 pm EDT deadline on October 31 to decide whether to offer Cole an extension. After the Halloween cutoff, an extension would no longer be possible. Cole would instead become a free agent during the 2015 offseason.
Rookie-scale contracts may be extended for up to four additional seasons. The salary in the first year of the extension may be any amount up to the player’s maximum. Raises are limited to 7.5% of the salary in the first year of the extension.(1)
Given the confluence of factors involved, an extension for Cole appears decidedly unlikely.
If you were Cole, or his agent Rich Paul, how much would you demand?
Cole is a starting point guard. In his first and only regular season game prior to the extension deadline, he showed a world of promise. His backup, Mario Chalmers, will earn $4.3 million next season. And the league is about to get a huge influx of cash from its new media rights deal, which could vault player salaries by more than 25%. How much, then, would you demand from the Heat in order to forgo the opportunity to test the free agent market next summer?
If you were Heat president Pat Riley, how much would you offer?
The Heat are trying to keep their salary commitments to a minimum for the summer of 2016 – with only Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts holding Heat contracts that extend beyond 2015-16 – when they hope to be active in free agency.
Cole is still very much an unproven commodity for the Heat – a natural reason to allow the deadline to pass and take another season to get a read, which would give the Heat the flexibility to evaluate his play in his more prominent role before committing to anything. Read more…