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.
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.