The Miami Heat announced Tuesday that they have exercised a team option on backup point guard Norris Cole for the 2014-15 season. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Heat acquired Cole in a draft night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2011. Cole became a key backup right away for the Heat, averaging over 19 minutes a game in his rookie season. For his career he has averaged 6.1 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 rebounds per game, shooting 40.7% from the field. Last season his three-point shooting jumped from 27.6% to 35.7%.
In his 40 playoff appearances, Cole has averaged 4.1 points, 1.4 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 14.7 minutes of action.
Cole has been a fan favorite thanks to his high-energy play, defensive tenacity, and his head-turning high-top fade haircut. Though the Heat want him to improve his three-point shooting, he is a valuable role player with a very small price tag.
The move makes Cole only the second player under contract for the 2014-15 season, along with center Chris "Birdman" Andersen. Miami's Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are all under contract through 2015-16, but each can opt out of their deals after this season.
Under Cole's rookie deal, the Heat can also make a qualifying offer for the 2015-16 season.