Heat Check

Briante Weber’s ‘time will come’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says

Miami Heat guard Briante Weber drives against the Orlando Magic guard Nick Johnson in the fourth quarter of an preseason NBA basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tues., Oct. 18, 2016, in Miami.
Miami Heat guard Briante Weber drives against the Orlando Magic guard Nick Johnson in the fourth quarter of an preseason NBA basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tues., Oct. 18, 2016, in Miami. dsantiago@elnuevoherald.com

Briante Weber was named the NBA’s Development League Player of the Month for January on Tuesday, one day after he finished a steal shy of what would have been the first quadruple-double in league history.

“I think it's awesome,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of Weber, who after being the final player cut by the Heat in the preseason has averaged 16.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists and a D-League league-leading 3.2 steals per contest for Sioux Falls, the Heat’s D-League affiliate.

“I love Bri,” Spoelstra continued. “We spent a lot of time with him and he’s just slowly getting better and better in the specific areas that he needs to. But I think he found a great place where he can develop. [Coach] Nevada [Smith's] using him in a terrific way. His time will come.”

That last sentence from Spoelstra naturally raises some eyebrows.

With Okaro White’s second 10-day contract set to expire on Sunday, the Heat is in a positon where it has to make a roster move to keep the 6-8, 215-pound forward on the team.

Miami could trade or release someone on the roster like Derrick Williams to accomodate signing White, who is only on the team now as a 16th player because of a roster exception the Heat was granted by the league because of the injuries to Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Josh McRoberts, and the ongoing health issues with Chris Bosh.

Any move involving White would eventually free up the team’s 16th roster spot – assuming none of the Heat’s injured players return. Miami could then call up Weber and keep him on the roster through the Feb. 23 trade deadline with a pair of 10-day contracts.

Weber had a workout with the 76ers earlier this season. And, he’s been playing out of his mind of late in Sioux Falls. With the deadline approaching an NBA team could take interest and the Heat could lose him.

Weber led the Skyforce to a 6-5 record in January and posted averages of 21.5 points, 8.3 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals. He had five double-doubles and two triple-doubles during the month.

He’s shooting 45.8 percent for the season and 37.8 percent from three-point range, two areas where the Heat has obviously wanted to see improvement from Weber.

▪ Spoelstra was asked before Wednesday’s game against the Hawks if the infighting he’s been seeing between Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls and LeBron James the Cleveland Cavaliers makes him appreciate the peace he has within the Heat organization.

Spoelstra pivoted from the topic well.

“Those are two exclusive things,” Spoelstra said. “I don't think about that at all. But after the game [in Chicago last Friday], it was great to catch-up with Dwyane. That’s the only thing I thought about from that standpoint.

“I still cherish those moments to connect with a friend. We talked about his family and we were able to see [his wife Gabrielle Union] as well. I miss Dwyane. That’s a part of being human. But I love being a part of this organization. It has nothing to do with that. This has been an incredible training ground for coaching and learning the NBA business. There’s no better place that I could have been in.”

 
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