Charlotte Hornets forward Johnny O’Bryant knows exactly what teammate Briante Weber is going through.
“It’s different. It’s tough,” O’Bryant said of playing on a 10-day contract in the NBA – something Weber is doing and what O’Bryant just survived. “You get in here and you don’t really know the system. You have to make an immediate impact. It’s a grind and a struggle.”
Weber, a 6-foot-2 point guard who has knocked around the NBA the past two seasons, has been with the Hornets since Feb. 27, when he signed the first of two 10-day contracts. The second will expire Sunday, after Saturday’s home game against the Washington Wizards. A team must either cut or permanently sign a player for the rest of the season after the second 10-day contract expires.
Weber hopes he has a similar outcome as O’Bryant, who signed a multi-year deal with the Hornets Thursday at the end of his second 10-day deal.
I’m going to keep him in there and see how he does. Hornets coach Steve Clifford on Briante Weber
“It’s hectic,” said Weber. “I’ve been in a hotel the last two months, living out of a suitcase. But I’m really living a dream, so there are no problems.”
If things continue the way they have over the past week, Weber might have a more permanent living situation in Charlotte. He’s impressed coach Steve Clifford, who played Weber for 20 minutes in a 98-77 loss against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Weber made the most of it, with eight points, two assists, two steals and five rebounds.
“He did a good job,” Clifford said. “I like the way guys respond to him on the court. He’s got a lot of energy and confidence. He’s disruptive defensively. I’m going to keep him in there and see how he does.”
Briante Weber has played for four NBA teams in is two years as a pro.
Weber and O’Bryant are living in hotels (although O’Bryant said he hopes to find someplace else to live). There are other challenges of living in an unfamiliar city in temporary quarters. O’Bryant is a vegetarian and finding a place to eat isn’t always easy. Weber sometimes gets away from his hotel to spend time with Hornets guard Treveon Graham, his former roommate at Virginia Commonwealth.
Then there’s the basketball side.
“Their whole career is on the line,” Clifford said of the 10-day players. “Every drill. Every film session. Everything they do. It’s a tough way to make a living.”
Weber is a product of former VCU coach Shaka Smart’s “Havoc” system, which constantly pressed on defense and ran an uptempo offense. Weber, who was a three-time Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year, needed only 12 steals to become the NCAA career leader when he blew out his knee late in his senior season.
“He definitely has that ‘Havoc’ attitude,” Hornets point guard Kemba Walker said of Weber. “He has that energy, offensively and defensively. He’s very positive and has that competitiveness that you love.”
The knee injury probably kept Weber from being drafted. He started the 2015-16 season in the Development League and finished it in the NBA with Memphis and Miami. He returned the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce at the beginning of this season, before signing a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors in February.
The Hornets grabbed Weber after that.
“I’m using my calling card, what got me here,” Weber said. “My defensive abilities, my tenacity. I want those things to help me stay in this league for a long time. They’re what helped me get this shot.”