Eastern Notes: Hampton, Hart, Thomas, Brown

The Pistons were interested in R.J. Hampton leading up to the 2020 draft and even held an in-person interview with him, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press reports in a subscriber-only story.

Hampton, the 24th pick of that draft, wound up in a Pistons uniform this month after getting waived by Orlando. He played five scoreless minutes in his Detroit debut on Saturday but is glad to join GM Troy Weaver’s club.

“Troy’s a great dude,” the Pistons’ newcomer said. “Somebody that’s real, somebody that expects a lot from his players but also knows what it means to develop young guys. That’s something I look forward to, being in an organization that takes the time with players, takes the time to figure out the areas that they’re really good in and weaknesses and coming together and making it all fit. I think he’s great in that aspect and I’m excited about it.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Josh Hart admits he had some trepidation about being traded by Portland to the Knicks, wondering how he’d mesh with coach Tom Thibodeau. Hart has been pleasantly surprised, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “Coming here I didn’t exactly know how Thibs’ system was. But it worked out,” Hart said. He’s averaging 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists with his new team. Hart holds a $12.96MM option on his contract for next season, which he’s expected to turn down.
  • Cam Thomas scored 22 points off the bench for the Nets on Sunday in a loss to the Hawks. Thomas is averaging 26.1 points per game this month but coach Jacque Vaughn says he’ll continue to use Thomas as an instant offense reserve, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets.
  • The Knicks won’t have to deal with the Celtics’ second-leading scorer when the teams square off on Monday. Jaylen Brown is taking the night off for personal reasons, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.
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