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Catching up with the Hornets; Summer nearing completion

The Hornets haven’t had an extremely busy summer, but they have made the headlines here in the past few weeks for various reasons. Let’s look back on a few of the recent transactions, check out the new Jordan Brand uniforms Charlotte will rock this season, and look forward to the one last move required to complete the roster.

Hornets Waive Briante Weber

Following a disappointing Orlando Summer League where Briante Weber averaged 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and just 2.8 assists per game, Charlotte decided to waive the journeyman point-guard ahead of his August 1 contract fully guarantee date.

Weber’s one obvious above-average skill showed again in Orlando – on-ball defense. He finished summer league tied for 1st in steals, averaging 2.8 per game. But there’s little else to write home about. He still shows no signs of being able to shoot from beyond the three-point line and offers minimal offensive creation with the ball in his hands.

Weber has shown flashes in the NBA with Memphis, Golden State and briefly with the Hornets, but the recipe for a successful point-guard simply isn’t there. After Weber’s gruesome knee injury during his senior year at VCU, he has never been the same. The lack of explosiveness with the ball in his hands is obvious and it’s one of the main reasons Weber hasn’t been able to stick in the league.

Weber signed a long-term contract with the Hornets on March 19th, but it was non-guaranteed. Charlotte went ahead and exercised their right to move on from Weber last Friday, avoiding the financial commitment. Happy Trails Briante.

Hornets Unveil Jordan Brand Uniforms

The team teased the fan-base earlier this week by showing us two sets of uniforms that looked effectively identical to last season’s, but with the Jordan Brand logo on them. The Hornets will be the only team in the NBA without the Nike logo on their uniforms.

But make no mistake, the team hyped up the announcement with plenty of steam last week. Including this promo video.

Not all hope is lost though. Charlotte will reportedly have five different uniform sets and when asked if one of those would include a retro set from the original Charlotte Hornets, Hornets Chief of Sales and Marketing Officer, Pete Guelli, was quoted saying that “we have a history of listening to our fans”.

Take that how you’d like.

According to the Bring Back The Buzz Blog, the team hired Excel Sports Management to shop the advertisement space on the uniform for the upcoming season, so sounds like there will be an ad stitched to the uni’s as well.

Hornets Fully Guarantee Johnny O’Bryant’s Deal for 2017-18

Johnny O’Bryant will be a member of the Charlotte Hornets for the 2017-18 season. O’Bryant had the same contract structure as Briante Weber, with a fully guarantee date of August 1. The deadline came and went without any word of the Hornets waiving O’Bryant and confirmation came yesterday that his $1.5M has been picked up by the Hornets for the upcoming season.

O’Bryant showed promise in his short stint with the Hornets last season. Most notably, in Charlotte’s game at Denver on March 4th where O’Bryant scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in only 15 minutes of play. He also had a strong showing in the Orlando Summer League for the Hornets, averaging 16.4 points (45.2% FG) and 4.6 rebounds per game. O’Bryant has proved the ability to score in a multitude of ways, including from behind the arc – he shot 7-21 (33%) from deep in Orlando – not great, but has consistently shown a willingness to take that shot.

O’Bryant stands as the fifth big man on the roster currently, but it remains to be seen whether or not Charlotte will add another big to the roster for the ’17-’18 season. With the move to guarantee O’Bryant’s deal for this season, the team now has 13 players on the roster with 12 guaranteed contracts.

Hornets Sign Marcus Paige and Mangok Mathiang to Two-Way Contracts

Two-way contracts are a new fold into the NBA’s most recent CBA and Charlotte has decided to exercise its right by nabbing two players that will spend most, if not all, of their time with the Hornets G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm.

Marcus Paige is a name that most Hornets fans will recognize from his days at UNC. Paige has seen very little time on an NBA roster and was a late second-round pick by Brooklyn in 2016. Paige played in Las Vegas Summer League with Minnesota, where he averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 assists per game on just 35% shooting. He spent most of last season with the Utah Jazz G-League affiliate. Paige has shown little ability to play point-guard on the NBA level, averaging just 2.2 assists per game last season in Salt Lake City over a 40 game span.

Mangok Mathiang was a four-year player at Louisville and went undrafted in June’s draft. Mathiang did play in the Orlando Summer League with the Hornets, but only averaged 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game.

A few quick notes on two-way contracts:

  • Teams are allowed to carry a max of two two-way contracts
  • Two-way contracts do not count against a team’s salary cap
  • Two-way players cannot be signed by another NBA team
  • Two-way players are considered restricted free agents at the end of their contract
  • Two-way players can spend a max of 45 days with his NBA team and the remainder with the team’s G-League affiliate

Hornets Still Need to Sign Third Point-Guard

Charlotte has at least one roster transaction left to make this summer – adding a third point-guard. The Hornets held an audition of sorts with eight point-guards back on July 25th. Norris Cole, Donald Sloan, Isaiah Canaan, Demetrius Jackson, JJ Frazier, Marcus Paige, Jared Cunningham and Nick Johnson all worked out for the team as Charlotte continues to search for an answer with the final point-guard slot on the roster.

Demetrius Jackson has since signed a two-way contract with Houston and the Hornets plan to do the same with Marcus Paige.

Considering the fact that Charlotte will spend one of their long shot flyer two-way deals on Marcus Paige, it would seem likely that the third point-guard spot on the roster will go to a veteran – one of Donald Sloan, Norris Cole, Isaiah Canaan or Jared Cunningham seems likely. I’d put my money on Donald Sloan.

Once the team has signed a third point-guard, that would bring the roster to 14 players (13 guaranteed). The league minimum for rosters under the new CBA is 14. Charlotte can still comfortably fit two minimum deals in below the luxury tax if they wish.

Want to hear Hornets chatter about all the topics you’ve read about in this piece? Stay tuned for the Episode 33 of Buzz Beat Radio that will drop Friday.