R.J. Hampton

Pistons Waive R.J. Hampton

The Pistons have placed R.J. Hampton on waivers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The team has confirmed the move (via Twitter).

Hampton’s $1,997,238 salary for 2023/24 was non-guaranteed until July 6, so Detroit won’t owe him any further money. If he doesn’t get claimed off waivers, Hampton will become an unrestricted free agent and will be eligible to sign with any team.

The Pistons picked up the third-year shooting guard in February when he cleared waivers after being let go by the Magic. Hampton was signed to a minimum contract that was only guaranteed through the end of the season. He appeared in 21 games for Detroit, averaging 7.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 18.5 minutes per night.

Hampton, 22, was a highly touted prospect when he entered the NBA as the 24th pick in the 2020 draft. The Nuggets acquired him from Milwaukee in a draft night deal, but he lasted less than a season in Denver before being sent to Orlando at the trade deadline.

Central Notes: Hampton, Wiseman, Beverley, Horst

Third-year Pistons guard R.J. Hampton is slowly finding his place within his new team, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscription required).

Hampton has earned significant playing time since arriving in Detroit last month following injuries to guards Killian Hayes and Alec Burks. He got off to a slow start, but with a bump in minutes over the past four contests, he is averaging 10.0 PPG on 48% field goal shooting, 2.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.3 SPG.

“I always tell myself, ‘When you put a pizza in the oven, you don’t like what it looks like after 20 seconds,'” Hampton told Curtis. “You gotta let it cook for a minute. You take it out the oven once it cooks and then you eat your pizza… I’m finding my footing here and kind of understanding my role, what I want it to be.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • New Pistons addition James Wiseman is stringing together the best basketball in his NBA career thus far, Curtis writes in a subscriber-only mailbag for The Detroit News. Curtis also addresses questions on the free agency of Hamidou Diallo and the exact extent of Detroit’s player injuries.
  • Bulls starting point guard Patrick Beverley, an unrestricted free agent this summer, would like to remain with his hometown team beyond the 2022/23 season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Thinking about staying in a place long term, stuff like that, that’s not really up to your control,” Beverley noted. “I’d like to think that I did all the right things when I was in Minnesota, and I was traded the next summer. So you can’t get caught up in what you can’t control.”
  • Bucks team general manager Jon Horst recently reflected on how the team has made subtle roster enhancements since injuries and depth issues hampered their title defense in 2022, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “As proud as I was, or we were, of our team last year – that’s sincere and genuine – it’s hard, it’s hard to defend a championship,” Horst told Owczarski. “We were right there. We had a chance. And that’s all you ask for every year… And we went into the summer, the offseason, like ‘we’ve got to get better…  These teams are good, we’re like ‘we’ve got to get better, we’ve got to load up.’ So, really what we did is we loaded up.

Contract Details: Hampton, Dozier, Goodwin, McGowens, Wainright

The new minimum-salary contracts signed by R.J. Hampton with the Pistons and PJ Dozier with the Kings are both two-year deals that are fully guaranteed for the rest of this season but don’t include any guaranteed money in year two, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links).

The agreements will allow the Pistons and Kings to assess their new players’ fits for the rest of this season before making a decision in the summer on whether or not to retain them for another season.

Hampton’s 2023/24 salary with the Pistons (approximately $2MM) would become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract through July 6, Hoops Rumors has learned. As for Dozier, he’d have to be waived by July 10 if the Kings want to avoid his full $2.4MM salary for next season becoming guaranteed.

Here are a few more details on some of the contracts recently signed by NBA players:

  • Jordan Goodwin‘s new three-year deal with the Wizards includes a $900K rest-of-season salary for 2022/23, which the team gave him using a portion of its mid-level exception, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Goodwin’s second-year salary in 2023/24 is currently partially guaranteed for $300K. That guarantee would increase to $963,948 (50% of his total salary) if he remains under contract through September 1, Hoops Rumors has learned. The Wizards hold a minimum-salary team option on Goodwin for 2024/25.
  • The Hornets‘ mid-level exception allowed them to give four years to Bryce McGowens on his new standard contract. It also let the team pay him a salary higher than the minimum for the rest of this season — he’ll earn $1,075,000 on his new deal in 2022/23, according to Smith (Twitter link). McGowens’ remaining three years are worth the minimum, but his $1.72MM salary for ’23/24 is fully guaranteed. The final two years are non-guaranteed, including a ’25/26 team option.
  • The Suns used a portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception to give Ish Wainright a slightly larger salary than he would have received on a minimum-salary contract, tweets Smith. Wainright will earn $474,851 for the rest of this season instead of the $423,612 he would’ve gotten on a minimum deal. As previously reported, the second year of Wainright’s contract is a team option.

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.

Central Notes: Crowder, Portis, Leonard, Hampton, Boylen

Jae Crowder and Bobby Portis have been through some memorable battles over the years, including the 2021 NBA Finals, but they’ve put any animosity behind them since becoming teammates, writes Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

After Crowder was traded to the Bucks, he called Portis to invite him to work out together during the All-Star break. They joined teammate Joe Ingles for several days of training in Miami.

“Good guy, great guy, got nothing bad to say about him,” Portis said when asked about Crowder. “Sometimes you don’t know with guys because you play against guys all the time – and me and Jae always been the type of guys that kind of got into it. We always kind of bumped heads, but we bumped heads in a good way. We’re kind of similar; we brought intensity to the game, bring a chip on our shoulders.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Meyers Leonard is grateful to be back in the NBA after an absence that lasted nearly two years, per Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel. After signing a 10-day contract with the Bucks this week, Leonard met with the media to talk about the lessons he learned after being suspended for making an antisemitic comment in 2021. “It’s a mixed bag of emotions, for sure,” he said. “It’s certainly the hardest two-year stretch I’ve ever had in my life, as an adult, as a man. The truth is – let’s just cut to it – I made a really big mistake, the biggest mistake of my life. And it was an extremely difficult time because, first of all, just let me say to anybody who’s listening, I’m incredibly sorry. It was an ignorant mistake.”
  • R.J. Hampton played nearly five minutes Saturday afternoon in his debut with the Pistons, even though he hasn’t practiced with the team yet. Hampton signed with Detroit on Thursday after clearing waivers following his buyout with Orlando. “He’s a good defender, but most of all his athleticism and his size at the two guard is something we want to look at,” coach Dwane Casey told Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). 
  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle talked to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files about the contributions of Jim Boylen, who has been serving as a consultant with the team in addition to his coaching duties with USA Basketball.

R.J. Hampton Signs With Pistons

FEBRUARY 23: The Pistons have officially signed Hampton, the team announced.

FEBRUARY 21: Former Magic guard R.J. Hampton plans to sign with the Pistons after he clears waivers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Hampton, the 24th overall pick in 2020, was waived by Orlando on Tuesday afternoon.

Hampton had a rotation role in his first season-and-a-half with the Magic, but has seen his playing time decline precipitously in 2022/23 after the team turned down the ’23/24 team option on his rookie scale contract. Hampton appeared in just 26 contests this season, averaging 5.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on .439/.340/.838 shooting in 13.9 minutes per game.

It’s not a given that Hampton will join the Pistons, since it’s possible he could be claimed. He has a $2,412,840 cap hit for 2022/23, so a team with cap room or a trade exception big enough to absorb that amount could place a claim.

Detroit has an open roster spot, so it won’t have to make a corresponding move.

The Pistons have been rotating Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, Killian Hayes and Cory Joseph at the guard positions. Hampton could take over some of Joseph’s minutes as he auditions for a new contract. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, as James Edwards III of The Athletic hears that he’ll just be signing a rest-of-the-season contract with Detroit (Twitter link).

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Hampton, Cunningham, Grant, Bagley

The Pistons have been out of the playoff race for a long time, but they still have some important work to do in their final 23 games, observes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Part of that mission includes seeing what they have in a pair of reclamation projects who were once considered elite draft prospects.

James Wiseman was acquired from the Warriors at the trade deadline, but because a health issue involving Gary Payton II held up the deal, Wiseman only appeared in one game before the All-Star break. He displayed a glimpse of the potential that caused Golden State to take him with the No. 2 pick in 2020, posting 11 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.

Detroit has to determine how Wiseman can fit with the team’s other young big men. He has been used exclusively at center during his brief NBA career, but Langlois believes the Pistons will want to test out a lineup with Wiseman at power forward alongside rookie center Jalen Duren. The addition of another seven-footer seems to indicate that Isaiah Stewart will now be used primarily at power forward, Langlois adds.

Detroit will reportedly sign R.J. Hampton sometime after he clears waivers on Thursday. Hampton hasn’t made an impact in his first two NBA stops, but he’s only 22 and a rebuilding team like the Pistons could give him an opportunity for regular playing time.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Cade Cunningham is still recovering from season-ending shin surgery in December, but the Pistons are optimistic about his long-term prognosis, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes in a mailbag column. Cunningham hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5 yet, but team officials believe he’ll be ready for full summer workouts once the season ends. Sankofa notes that Cunningham has been dealing with soreness in his left shin for several years, so there’s hope that he’ll be pain-free next season.
  • Jerami Grant could become a target for the Pistons in free agency, Sankofa adds. Grant, who Detroit traded to the Trail Blazers last summer, hasn’t decided on a four-year, $112MM extension offer from Portland. If he turns it down, Sankofa sees Grant as an obvious target for general manager Troy Weaver, who could have up to $40MM in cap space to work with this offseason.
  • Marvin Bagley III participated in most of Wednesday’s practice and coach Dwane Casey said he’s close to returning, Sankofa tweets. Bagley has missed the past 19 games after having surgery on his right hand.

Magic Waive R.J. Hampton

2:12pm: The Magic have officially waived Hampton, the team confirmed in a press release.

1:55pm: The Magic are waiving former first-round pick R.J. Hampton, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).

The No. 24 pick in the 2020 draft, Hampton was part of Orlando’s return in the 2021 trade that sent Aaron Gordon to Denver. He had a rotation role in his first season-and-a-half with the Magic, but has seen his playing time decline precipitously in 2022/23 after the team declined the ’23/24 team option on his rookie scale contract.

Hampton, who turned 22 earlier this month, appeared in just 26 contests for the Magic this season, averaging 5.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on .439/.340/.838 shooting in 13.9 minutes per game. He wasn’t a regular contributor in a crowded backcourt that features Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Gary Harris.

Considered a trade candidate for much of this season, Hampton remained in Orlando through the February 9 deadline. A report surfaced shortly after the deadline suggesting that his days with the Magic were numbered.

Hampton has a $2,412,840 cap hit for 2022/23, so a team with cap room or a trade exception big enough to absorb that amount could place a waiver claim. The more likely scenario is that he’ll go unclaimed and seek out a new home as an unrestricted free agent.

The Magic are also promoting two-way player Admiral Schofield to a standard contract, so once officially they complete both transactions, they’ll have two spots available on their 17-man roster — one standard and one two-way.

Magic May Move On From R.J. Hampton

Magic reserve guard R.J. Hampton may be waived or bought out by Orlando, sources inform Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). Price reveals that Hampton is not traveling with the team for its game tomorrow against the Bulls.

As Price notes, Hampton – facing a logjam in the Magic’s backcourt rotation – could get more frequent run with another club committed to his development.

Hampton is currently fourth in Orlando’s point guard rotation, behind starter Markelle Fultz, 2021 lottery pick Jalen Suggs, and even primary backup shooting guard Cole Anthony. Gary Harris and Anthony serve as the team’s two primary shooting guards.

Hampton, a five-star high school prospect out of Little Elm, Texas, opted to skip college so he could kick off a pro career. He had joined NBL club the New Zealand Breakers for the 2019/20 season, and his erratic on-court play sank his draft value.

The 6’4″ combo guard, who has just turned 22, was first selected with the No. 24 pick in 2020. He spent half the season with the Nuggets before being traded to Orlando. This year, he had been averaging 5.7 PPG on .439/.340/.838 shooting splits with the Magic in just 26 games. He is also chipping in 1.5 RPG and 1.3 APG, across 13.9 MPG.

Hampton is one of just three players on rookie scale contracts who had his 2023/24 option declined last fall, so he’s on an expiring $2.4MM deal.

Stein’s Latest: Drummond, Agbaji, Magic, Ross, Wizards

Bulls center Andre Drummond is a good candidate to be on the move prior to the February 9 trade deadline, according to Marc Stein, who notes in his latest Substack story that the veteran big man hasn’t been a regular part of Chicago’s rotation as of late.

Drummond wasn’t playing big minutes early in the season either, but has seen his playing time decline further since then, having received a handful of DNP-CDs in January. He has played more than nine minutes in only two games since the calendar flipped to 2023. For the season, the 29-year-old averaging 6.1 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 13.0 minutes per game in 36 appearances — all of those numbers are career lows.

Drummond isn’t on a minimum-salary contract, but his modest $3.2MM cap hit makes him an attainable trade chip for just about any NBA team. He does have a $3.36MM player option for 2023/24, so a club acquiring him would have to be comfortable with the possibility that he’ll exercise that option.

Here’s more for Stein:

  • After having previously reported that the Jazz are willing to listen to inquires about anyone on their roster except for Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler, Stein adds a third name to that list, citing a source who says rookie wing Ochai Agbaji also appears to be off-limits.
  • The Magic are “welcoming” inquiries on Terrence Ross, Gary Harris, Mohamed Bamba, and R.J. Hampton, league sources tell Stein. Rival teams are keeping an eye on Ross as a possible buyout candidate if he’s not moved by February 9, Stein adds. Orlando hasn’t made a habit in recent years of buying out veterans in contract years, but it’s possible that Ross – who suggested last spring that he’d welcome a trade – could push for a change of scenery.
  • Having previously reported that the Suns turned down a trade involving Jae Crowder and Rui Hachimura, Stein corrects the record, writing that the obstacle in those discussions was actually the Wizards’ desire to flip Crowder to the Bucks — the three teams discussed a deal, but couldn’t work out an agreement that appealed to Washington more than the Lakers’ offer.