There’s the typical way an NBA team signs a free agent: Team reaches out to said free agent, makes an offer and player accepts.
And then there’s the Briante Weber way, the proactive path that led him back to South Florida for a second tour with the Heat.
Weber, unemployed this summer after stints last season with Houston and Memphis, decided that the Heat would be the best place to jump-start his career.
And so Weber made calls. Not one, not two, but enough to reach virtually everyone of importance he knew within the organization.
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“I reached out to the whole Heat coaching staff from top to bottom,” Weber said at Bam Adebayo’s culinary charity event last week. “I reached out to [Heat vice president/player personnel] Adam Simon. I reached to [Erik Spoelstra] and [assistant], Dan Craig, even coach O [Octavio De La Grana]. I reached out to the whole coaching staff and told them my style of play fits here and you guys showed me how to be a pro.
“I want to come back here and pay dividends and show you what I’ve learned over the years and show you I belong. They gave me an opportunity so I am here to show them what I can do again.”
How long did it take for the Heat to extend an offer? “It didn’t take very long -- about two weeks. I stayed here for the summer so I was already here.”
Weber was Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year in his final three seasons at Virginia Commonwealth (2013-2015) and made it to the NBA as a defensive dynamo, a skill that remains for a player who has averaged nearly a steal per game in his NBA career.
The question remains his shot. In 45 NBA games, he has shot 40.8 percent from the field and 19.2 on threes (5 for 26).
He also must improve his ball-handling; he has 64 NBA assists and 32 turnovers, a pedestrian 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.
Weber played in 13 games for Houston last season (where he had a two-way contract) and five for Memphis (as part of a 10-day contract; he wasn’t resigned to a second 10-day).
Asked about where his offensive game stands, Weber said: “I am such a pro right now that I don’t let everyone else tell me what I am capable of. I know for sure I am an NBA point guard and I can make a team better, especially a second unit that can get second unit guys shots and doing little intangible things. I know I am capable at the offensive end to do my job and keep everyone honest.”
Though he had three separate stints with the Heat’s G League team in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Weber has appeared in only three games for the Heat, once at the end of the 2015-16 season and two brief appearances in playoff games against Charlotte.
What message has Spoelstra given him?
“He was telling me he’s excited for me to be back and we need to build the relationship to keep me around, not to keep going back [to the G League]. He wants me to be here.”
Weber, whose contract is not guaranteed, will be among several competing for potentially one open roster spot, with 14 others signed to guaranteed deals.
He said nobody from the Heat mentioned the G-League as a possibility if he doesn’t win a roster spot.
“That’s in our rear-view,” he said. “We’ve been there before. I’ve pretty much done everything I could in the G-league. There’s nothing else for me to do down there. My game speaks for itself down there. I am here for the NBA.”
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