Ishmael Smith Rumors

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The 26-year-old Smith is definitely an intriguing player. Even if it’s in a backup role. “That’s OK with me,” Smith said. “I just surprised myself as a starter. I am not going to lie. I’m sure it surprised everybody in the NBA. Hopefully, wherever it might be, I am ready. I have a lot to work on, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I have more that I can give. I’m not going to take much time off. I’m getting right back at it.”
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Nerlens Noel said that when he called Ish Smith the first “true point guard I ever played with,” it was not a knock on Michael Carter-Williams. “Nah, I’d never do that,” the 76ers rookie said Wednesday about his former point guard. “He’s a playmaker. There are times when you need a scoring point guard that’s going to get in the lane, create and make scoring opportunities.
So Smith, a journeyman on his eighth team in five years, is the “first true point guard” even though Noel spent the first four months of the season with former AAU teammate/2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams? Noel repeated the line to a pair of reporters a few minutes later. Soon after, I approached Noel to see if he means he thinks his offensive development coincided with the Feb. 19 trade in which Carter-Williams was dealt to the Bucks for the Lakers’ top-5 protected pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. “I think there’s a lot more fluidity in the game,” Noel said. “I think there’s more balance. Guys are getting more shots. The ball’s not sticking and guys are having fun playing. When you’re out there having fun, you feel like you can do anything on both ends of the court.”
Following the Sixers’ disappointing 113-111 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, Noel chose some interesting words when praising his teammate Ish Smith after the game. “I love that kid,” Noel (19 points, 14 rebounds) said of Smith (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) post-game. “He just finds me whenever I’m open and honestly, he’s the first true point-guard I’ve ever really played with. And you know, he said I’m one of the alley-oop men—big men—he’s played with. So I think we compliment each other so well.”
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Before joining OKC, he knew a few of the players – growing up in Charlotte with Anthony Morrow, going on an official visit to Wake Forest with Westbrook, facing off with Jackson in the ACC and playing summer ball with Durant when he was 16. But since joining OKC, his friendships with those four and everyone else has blossomed. “It’s character. It’s work ethic,” Durant said. “Just who he is as a person. It’s easy for him to fit in. He came in the first day and it feels like he’s been here forever.” “Loving spirit, kind spirit, easy to be around,” Jackson said. “Ish is the man.”
What is a hardship exception? It’s a temporary roster spot that must be granted by the league. It allows a team to exceed the 15-man maximum roster when it has at least four players who are sick or injured for longer than two weeks. Each of the four sick or injured players must miss at least three consecutive games during their two-week absence. An independent physician, not the team’s doctor, must decide whether each player is required to miss two weeks. With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Mitch McGary and Grant Jerrett all having missed at least three straight games while sidelined for at least the season’s first month with various injuries, the Thunder meets the criteria.
With seven players currently sidelined by injuries, the Thunder will sign guard Ish Smith using a hardship exception recently awarded by the league, according to a source. He is expected to be in uniform Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Oklahoman earlier reported news of Smith’s signing. Smith, 26, has played for seven teams in four seasons, most recently appearing in 70 games last season with the Phoenix Suns. He was with the Houston Rockets in the preseason before being waived.
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The Thunder is set to add point guard Ishmael Smith to its roster using a rare exception available only when the league determines a team is dealing with a hardship. It can be a complex and confusing process for fans attempting to following along as the Thunder acquires another player. So here’s a quick cheat sheet of answers to some of the more common questions about the exception and the journeyman point guard the Thunder is bringing in.