R.J. Hampton

Wizards Sign R.J. Hampton To 10-Day Deal

1:15pm: Hampton has officially signed his 10-day contract, the Wizards announced in a press release. It will run through March 12.

10:48am: The Wizards will fill the open spot on their 15-man standard roster by signing former first-round pick R.J. Hampton to a 10-day contract, a source tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 24th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Hampton bounced around the NBA during his first few years in the league, spending time in Denver, Orlando, and Detroit from 2020-23.

After being waived by the Pistons last June, he signed a two-way contract with the Heat in September and spent much of this season with Miami, appearing in eight NBA games before being waived following last month’s trade deadline, just two days after his 23rd birthday.

After being let go by the Heat, Hampton had his G League rights acquired by the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s affiliate. He has played well in six regular season appearances for the Go-Go, averaging 12.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists with a .500/.412/.818 shooting line in 20.1 minutes per contest.

Hampton will fill the 15-man roster spot that was previously occupied by Justin Champagnie, whose own 10-day contract expired on Saturday night. Champagnie is sticking with the Wizards, but will get a two-way deal rather than another standard contract.

Hampton will earn $120,250 over the course of his 10 days with the Wizards, while the club takes on a $116,075 cap hit. He’ll be under contract for Washington’s next five games and will be eligible to sign a second 10-day deal with the team when his first one expires. If he doesn’t get a second contract, he’d likely report back to the Go-Go, who would still hold his G League rights.

Wizards Notes: Avdija, Coulibaly, Davis, Hampton

Wizards forward Deni Avdija might have turned a corner in his NBA career, highlighted by a career-high 43 points and season-high 15 rebounds on Wednesday against the Pelicans, Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes.

It’s a little emotional,” Avdija said. “I never thought that, coming to the league, seeing all those numbers, those big players score those points, [I would be] able to be that hot. All the hard work, the times that I was down or I didn’t have good games — and I was down on myself a lot of times — I [stuck] with it. I kept working hard, I kept being patient. I went through a lot. And for me, it’s only the start. I feel like I’m still getting better.

The Wizards have exercised patience with Avdija, the ninth overall pick in 2020. Robbins writes that while he hasn’t turned into a star like others selected after him — such as Tyrese Haliburton or Tyrese Maxey — he’s always been a versatile defensive player with secondary ball-handling upside.

But now, Avdija is improving at a rapid rate. As Robbins observes, he has been far better from three this season, shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc (up from 29.7% in 2022/23) and has also become a better driver and finisher at the rim. Interim head coach Brian Keefe is helping Avdija play to his strengths by increasing Washington’s pace of play, Robbins writes.

Avdija is averaging career highs of 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest this season. In his last four games, he has averaged 28.3 points and 11.5 rebounds.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Rookie Bilal Coulibaly has been tasked with guarding some of the NBA’s top players as a teenager, and though the results fluctuate, he’s been impressive through his young career, Ava Wallace of The Washington Post writes (subscriber link). “He’s had his ups and downs like every other rookie, but I think he’s composed, he’s working hard, he knows what he needs to do on the court and he’s very decisive,” Avdija said. “He’s very confident for a rookie. That’s important.” Wallace writes that Coulibaly has impressive maturity for his age, due largely to his upbringing.
  • Selecting Johnny Davis over the likes of Jalen Williams, Jalen Duren and Mark Williams is looking like a major whiff for the Wizards, Zach Lowe of ESPN opines (Insider link). Davis has spent more time in his career in the G League than the NBA after being selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2022 draft. He’s averaging 2.3 points in only 8.0 minutes per game this season, and while it’s still early in his career, his playing time has only decreased in his second season.
  • After he was waived by the Heat, the Wizards’ G League affiliate acquired the rights to R.J. Hampton in exchange for the returning player rights to Trevion Williams and a 2024 first-round pick (Twitter link via the Capital City Go-Go). While his numbers were modest in eight games with Miami, Hampton showed some flashes and made a pair of starts. He averaged 11.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists in the G League with the Heat’s affiliate this season. With the Wizards waiving Delon Wright, they have just 13 players on standard contracts. All of Jules Bernard, Eugene Omoruyi and Jared Butler — Washington’s two-way players — have impressed in the G League. If Washington promotes one of them, Hampton could be a logical choice for a two-way.

Heat Sign Alondes Williams To Two-Way Deal, Waive R.J. Hampton

The Heat plan to sign free agent guard Alondes Williams to a two-way deal, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Miami confirmed in a press release that it has waived R.J. Hampton and filled the two-way opening by signing Williams.

Williams, who went undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2022, signed a two-way deal with the Nets prior to the 2022/23 season, making playing five minutes in one game with Brooklyn. He was waived in January 2023.

The 24-year-old signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Heat this past summer, but was released before the regular season began. He has been playing for Miami’s NBAGL affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Williams has impressed at the G League level, averaging 20.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, 5.2 RPG and 1.3 SPG on .499/.373/.739 shooting in 32 Showcase Cup and regular season games in ’23/24 (37.0 MPG). His strong play was recognized by the NBAGL, earning spots in the Up Next and the Rising Stars events at All-Star weekend, which will be held next week in Indianapolis.

After the moves, all three of the Heat’s two-way spots remain full, but they do have a standard roster opening.

Heat Expected To Waive R.J. Hampton

The Heat are expected to cut R.J. Hampton, opening up one of their two-way contract slots, reports Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Hampton, who turned 23 on Wednesday, has battled some injuries this season and has only seen action in 17 total games in the NBA and the G League. In eight appearances for the Heat, he has recorded 10 points, eight assists, and six rebounds in 76 total minutes of actions, making just 4-of-14 shots (1-of-8 three-pointers).

The former first-round pick has been a little more effective for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, averaging 11.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 4.7 APG with a .429/.273/.609 shooting line in nine regular season and Showcase Cup contests (28.0 MPG).

As Chiang notes, the plan will be to fill Hampton’s two-way slot with another developmental prospect.

Skyforce guard Alondes Williams looks like one contender for that opening, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald observes (via Twitter). Williams is averaging 20.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, and 5.2 RPG on 49.9% shooting in 32 games (37.0 MPG) for Sioux Falls. Skyforce guard Jamaree Bouyea is another candidate to watch, tweets Chiang.

Hampton will receive his full two-way salary from the Heat and will become an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team, if and when he clears waivers. Once he’s officially cut, Miami will have two open spots on its 18-man roster — one standard and one two-way.

Heat Notes: Butler, Two-Way Players, Richardson

After losing seven games in a row for the first time since 2008, the Heat‘s coaches and players centered a plan around Jimmy Butler to save the team’s season, writes the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang. Butler upped the ante on his aggression, and he’s now scored 24 or more points four times in a row for the first time this season.

He’s averaging 27.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals during this stretch and — as also noted by Ira Winderman of South Florida’s Sun Sentinel — is getting 10.3 free throw attempts per game.

When he does that, when he really gets himself going, gets in attack mode, whether he’s shooting the ball or getting to the free throw line or setting up other players, that’s when we’re at our best,” Heat forward Kevin Love said.

Forty-one of Butler’s last 56 shots have come from inside the paint and he’s shooting 72.7% from the restricted area, according to Chiang.

He’s been more aggressive than he was in the beginning of the season,” center Bam Adebayo said. “We know what that man can do when he’s tapped in and is locked in. I feel like he’s starting to get his groove.

The Heat have won back-to-back games behind Butler’s aggressiveness.

We have more Heat notes:

  • Responding to NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins, who suggested Butler and the Heat should part ways, Butler’s agent Bernard Lee pushed back strongly against that notion on Twitter. “Put simply he’s never going anywhere.. EVER,” Lee tweeted. “He’s going to win a championship in Miami.” Butler and the Heat are 26-23 entering Saturday, good for seventh in the Eastern Conference and half a game back of the Pacers for sixth.
  • Because the Heat only have 14 players on standard contracts, their players on two-way contracts are limited to a total of 90 NBA appearances. If they were carrying 15 standard players, their two-way players would be eligible to be active for 50 games each. The clock is currently ticking for Miami’s trio of Jamal Cain, R.J. Hampton and Cole Swider, who only have 25 games left between them if the team doesn’t add a 15th man, Winderman observes. Games in which players are active but don’t play count against their limit “It’s tough, because you mentally prepare like you’re ready to play,” Cain said of being active on a game night and not playing. “When your number is not called, of course it’s going to take a mental, emotional toll on you. But that’s the beauty of the game, because you’re still getting those mental reps on those games when you’re active, as part of it.
  • Guard Josh Richardson was out of the rotation when the Heat played the Knicks last week. “I mean, it’s never easy,” Richardson said of being benched, per Winderman. “It’s hard. We got a lot of guys that can play, contribute, so I really had to go home and like think, like figure it out, like, ‘What do I have to do better to get minutes?’ And, ‘How can I help the team win games?’” Then, after Duncan Robinson suffered a concussion, he was right back in the following game. Richardson impressed in his subsequent outings, highlighted by a 24-point performance against the Kings to snap Miami’s losing streak.

Heat Notes: Hampton, Cain, Jovic, Love

Guard R.J. Hampton, who is on a two-way contract, made his first start with the Heat on Thursday, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel observes (via Twitter), Hampton became the 14th player to make at least one start for Miami through 31 games in 2023/24.

It was just the fourth NBA appearance this season for the former first-round pick, who finished with seven points, three assists and two rebounds in the victory over Golden State. Hampton finished with a positive plus/minus (+8) in his 25 minutes.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Hampton, Jamal Cain and Nikola Jovic have spent most of the season in the G League, but they all made key contributions on Thursday with several players injured, Chiang writes for The Miami Herald. Cain, another two-way player, recorded seasons highs in points (18 on 7-of-14 shooting) and rebounds (six) while tying his season high with two steals. Jovic, the Heat’s 2022 first-round pick, had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 20 minutes. “The three young guys in particular, it’s not easy,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They go often times weeks without playing, but they have to stay ready, as UD [Udonis Haslem] always says, to be ready. And then they also have to improve. So they can’t just be the same players they are because they’re trying to prove themselves and really establish themselves in this league.”
  • Winderman takes a look at Jovic’s up-and-down second season, with the 20-year-old learning a new position (center) with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate.
  • Big man Kevin Love has primarily come off the bench in his first full season with Miami, which is a role he grew accustomed to with Cleveland, per Winderman (subscriber link). Love enjoys the freedom of being a reserve. “You’re playing free,” Love said of getting to enter without expectation of a specific niche. “I’m on the perimeter, I’m low, I’m catching the ball in different spots, I get to play pretty free within it. So, for me, it’s been finding myself shooting the ball. But as far as being effective and finishing, I feel like I can do that every night, even if I’m not scoring the ball.”

Heat Notes: Jaquez, Two-Way Players, Butler, Herro

With Jimmy Butler missing a third straight game, Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez turned in a Butler-style performance with 31 points and 10 rebounds in Monday’s win over Philadelphia, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. It marks the latest achievement in a remarkable first season for Jaquez, who has long dreamed of being part of the NBA’s Christmas showcase.

“Definitely special,” he said. “Great to get a win. Career night, on Christmas … I grew up watching these games. To be able to play and have a career night, it just, I just go back to all the hard work, late nights in the gym, just preparing for moments like this.”

Jaquez is proving that he entered the NBA ready to play right away after spending four seasons in college. Injuries have given him opportunities on a team coming off a Finals appearance, and he has found ways to contribute without being a focal point of the offense.

“I don’t think I called one play for him tonight, literally,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I mean, they were in his zone most of the second half. But throughout the rest of the course of the game, I definitely did not call it one play for him. And he did with offensive rebounding, transition, cuts, timely threes, just a lot of plays in between, so you don’t really think that it’s, you know, a 30-point game.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Caleb Martin is the latest injury concern for a Heat team that has been shorthanded all season, notes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Making his 10th straight start after missing the beginning of the season with a knee injury, Martin was ruled out of Monday’s contest after spraining his ankle midway through the first quarter. Two-way players Jamal Cain and R.J. Hampton saw double-digit minutes Monday and may have expanded roles while the rest of the roster heals. “They have prepared for that,” Spoelstra said. “It’s not easy for the players in their situation where you don’t know if you’re going to play. And most nights, you probably have an idea that you’re not going to play. But you still have to stay ready and things change so quickly in this league.”
  • Butler will travel with the team as it begins a five-game road trip and Heat officials are optimistic that he will be able to return soon, Chiang adds. There was hope that his calf strain had healed enough for him to play Monday, but an illness prevented that from happening.
  • Tyler Herro has been a steady presence since returning from a sprained ankle that caused him to miss 18 games, Chiang states in a separate story. Herro is averaging career highs with 24.0 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting a career-best 45.9% from the field and 42.7% from three-point range.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Herro, Jovic, Hampton, More

Time is no longer on Heat center Bam Adebayo‘s side when it comes to potentially earning a super-max contract extension after the season, writes The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman.

In order to be eligible for a super-max deal worth 35% of the cap, Adebayo has to either earn a spot on the All-NBA team or be named the league’s MVP or Defensive Player of the Year. And in order to be eligible for any of those honors, he must play in at least 65 games as a result of changes made in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Adebayo has already missed nine games this season, including six in a row. That means he can only miss up to eight more before he’s deemed ineligible for those awards. Adebayo is nearing a return to the court and is expected back sometime in December, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, but another injury or two in the coming months could cost him a shot at super-max eligibility in 2024.

Adebayo is in the middle of a strong season, averaging 22.3 points and 9.9 rebounds for the 14-11 Heat. If he’s able to stay healthy, he should be a candidate for both an All-NBA nod and for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He’s finished in the top five in voting in the latter in each of the past four seasons.

We have more from the Heat:

  • Adebayo isn’t the only key player the Heat are expecting back soon. We recently wrote Tyler Herro is expected back soon and Jackson says he’s targeting a Dec. 18 return. Herro hasn’t played since Nov. 8. R.J. Hampton also recently returned for the Heat, logging roughly nine minutes against the Bulls on Thursday in his first action since Oct. 28.
  • In the second of a three-part series, Jackson explores potential trades the Heat could make with Western Conference teams. However, there aren’t many options that are either easy or make much sense. Jackson mentions Lauri Markkanen‘s supposed availability, but writes the Jazz would rightly want a huge return and any other trade with Utah could limit the team’s availability to re-sign Caleb Martin. Other teams exploring trades, like the Spurs and the Warriors, don’t have many packages that make sense for Miami either.
  • Center Thomas Bryant and two-way player Jamal Cain have both seen their roles fluctuate with the Heat this season, observes the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang. Bryant opened the year as Adebayo’s primary backup, but fell out of the rotation and remained that way even with Adebayo out. Meanwhile, Cain had a strong summer and sought a standard deal but ultimately ended back up on a two-way deal that limits him to 50 regular season games. However, both players are continuing to stay ready for any opportunity, which coach Erik Spoelstra commented was “never easy.” Bryant has responded by scoring 17 points and 11 rebounds in about 27 minutes over his last two appearances. Cain meanwhile, scored 14 points in just under 29 minutes against the Hornets on Wednesday.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Lowry, Robinson, Hampton, Jovic

There’s still no timetable for the return of big man Bam Adebayo, who missed a fourth straight game on Monday due to a left hip contusion, per Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (Twitter link via Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald). Adebayo traveled with the team to Charlotte for Monday’s game, but Spoelstra said that didn’t necessarily mean he was close to playing.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it of him being on this trip other than he really wanted to be here and he can do his work,” Spoelstra said.

As good as Adebayo has been this season, the Heat have held their own without him in the lineup. The team has a net rating of minus-1.7 in the 537 minutes Adebayo has played in 2023/24, compared to a plus-4.7 mark in the 567 minutes he hasn’t been on the court.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Using Kyle Lowry‘s expiring $29.7MM contract as part of an in-season trade to acquire a player – or players – under contract beyond this season is certainly a possibility, but the Heat will have to be careful about the salary they add to next year’s books, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says the team doesn’t seem inclined to surpass the second tax apron in 2024/25. Jackson takes a look at some of the other factors Miami must consider as it weighs trade scenarios and looks ahead to the future.
  • After a down year in 2022/23, Duncan Robinson has been a key part of the Heat’s rotation in 2023/24, averaging a career-high 14.8 points per game and increasing his shooting line to .478/.426/.833 through 21 games (13 starts). Robinson spoke to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald about his motivation to bounce back this fall and to silence questions about his work ethic.
  • Heat two-way player R.J. Hampton says his recovery from a knee sprain was a “long process” but that he feels as if he’s 100% healthy now, Chiang writes for The Miami Herald. Although Hampton didn’t end up playing at all on Monday vs. Charlotte, Spoelstra said he was ready to go if needed.
  • Second-year forward Nikola Jovic is on his second G League assignment of the season, as Chiang notes in the same Herald story. Jovic suited up for the Sioux Falls Skyforce this afternoon and the plan is for him to remain with Miami’s NBAGL affiliate through Friday’s game vs. Windy City before rejoining the Heat.

Heat Notes: Lowry, O. Robinson, Martin, Hampton

Kyle Lowry finished last season as a reserve and spent the summer hearing rumors that Damian Lillard was coming to Miami, but he’s back as the Heat’s starting point guard and still playing at a high level, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Lowry’s expiring $29.7MM contract has kept him in trade rumors, but wherever he winds up, he wants a consistent on-court role.

“I want to be able to play,” Lowry said. “The one thing about me is I’m a competitor. I might not be able to play 45 minutes a night. If I have an opportunity to play basketball and I can play, I want to be able to help. Being a mentor is something I do every day, and I’ve been doing it every day for a long time in my career. That’s something I (need) to do. It’s something I’ve been doing.”

With Lowry set to turn 38 in March, Koreen suggests he may be one of the few NBA players ever to remain productive at age 40. A wave of injuries to teammates has resulted in Lowry playing the most minutes of anyone on Miami’s roster so far, Koreen adds, but coach Erik Spoelstra is being careful not to overextend him. Lowry is a valuable part of the offense — shooting 43.6% from three-point range and sporting an assist-to-turnover ratio of about 4-to-1 — and the Heat will need him fresh and healthy for the playoffs.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Spoelstra said. “But we need that Hall of Fame point guard play from him to really unlock some of the things we’re trying to do.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Spoelstra used his 14th different starting lineup in 21 games, with a combination of Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin and Orlando Robinson that had only shared the court for 10 combined minutes prior to Wednesday, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. With Bam Adebayo sidelined by a hip contusion, Orlando Robinson made his second consecutive start at center and delivered the first double-double of his career with 15 points and 12 rebounds. “He gets better each month and you saw that tonight,” Spoelstra said. “He had a lot of big plays. The rebounding down the stretch, his defensive detail work was really good.”
  • Martin appears fully recovered from the left knee tendinosis that caused him to miss 10 games early in the season, Chiang adds. He has averaged 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists over his last five games and is looking more like the player who had an important role in Miami’s run to the NBA Finals.
  • R.J. Hampton is close to returning from the sprained knee he suffered in late October, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Spoelstra said the Heat are eager to continue the development process with Hampton, who may be assigned to the G League once he’s cleared to resume playing.