The Miami Heat are expected to waive guard R.J. Hampton, who is currently on a two-way contract, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald first reported Friday.
The Heat is expected to release guard RJ Hampton from his two-way contract, according to league sources. The expectation is the Heat will then fill the open two-way spot with another developmental prospect.
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) February 9, 2024
He played in just eight games with the Heat this season, including two starts. He totaled just 10 points, six rebounds and eight steals with three turnovers on 4-of-14 shooting, making just one of his eight 3-pointers.
Hampton, 23, has dealt with a knee injury throughout most of the 2023-24 season, which has limited his opportunity at both the NBA level and with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G-League affiliate.
He’s appeared in seven regular season games with the Skyforce, averaging 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 25.8 minutes per game. He scored 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting with six rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one block in a thrilling 157-156 win over the Iowa Wolves on Feb. 3.
He signed a two-way contract with the Heat in September. Hampton, a former five-star player out of Little Elm High School in Little Elm, Texas, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 24 pick in 2020, but was traded on draft night to the Denver Nuggets.
Hampton was subsequently traded at the ensuing deadline to the Magic in the Aaron Gordon trade, where he spent roughly two calendar seasons before getting waived by the Magic in Feb. of 2023. He signed for the Detroit Pistons for the remainder of the 2022-23 season before entering free agency.
Each NBA team is allocated three two-way spots; the other two spots filled with the Heat are forwards Jamal Cain and Cole Swider. Players on two-way contracts make roughly $560K per season and are not playoff-eligible. Most two-way players are eligible for 50 of their team’s 82 regular season games; though, in the Heat’s case, with just 14 of the 15 roster spots taken up, two-way players can only be active for a combined 90 games.
By releasing Hampton, his salary will not count against the Heat’s books like it would for a player on a standard contract. The most likely person to replace Hampton would be guard Alondes Williams, who’s had an outstanding season in his first full year with the Skyforce, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
Hampton played in 8 games and appeared in 2 for Miami. Heat has many options for 2 way deal, with Alondes Williams making a case with big numbers in G League https://t.co/fejAjLJt6b
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 9, 2024
Guard Jamaree Bouyea could also vie for consideration. He’s the Skyforce’s best initiator and one of their best point-of-attack defenders, averaging 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks, in addition to 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists.
With Hampton’s roller-coaster season, it’s not surprising that the Heat are opting to go in a different direction. The Skyforce have plenty of G-League players that the organization likely doesn’t want to get plucked by other organizations–such as Williams (who spent 2022-23 in the Brooklyn Nets organization) and Bouyea (who started this season in the Portland Trail Blazers organization)–for nothing.
Hampton still has untapped potential as a defender, playmaker and shooter. The Heat has been known to circle back on players, even at the G-League level (i.e. Dru Smith, Bouyea, Briante Weber), so I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami does again with Hampton in the future.
This is a developing news story. Stay tuned for updates.
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