NBA Issues Hardship Waiver to Thunder, Oklahoma City Officially Declared A Disaster
Just five games into the regular season and it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been kind to Oklahoma City thus far. Currently occupying the basement of the Northwest division, at 1-4 only the winless Lakers and 76ers have worse records.
That’s not really much of a sampling, but the current injury situation the team is dealing with suggests wins are going to be few and far between for the time being. With the MASH tent reaching critical mass, the Thunder’s 15-man roster has been reduced to as few as seven players recently.
The current injury report is as follows:
- Kevin Durant, fractured foot, at least a month
- Russell Westbrook, recent surgery on broken hand, at least a month
- Mitch McGary, foot fracture, 2-3 weeks
- Anthony Morrow, sprained MCL, 4-6 weeks
- Grant Jerrett, offseason ankle surgery, indefinite
- Perry Jones III, knee, day-to-day
- Jeremy Lamb, back, day-to-day
- Andre Roberson, foot, day-to-day
With a bleak situation seemingly only getting bleaker in Oklahoma City, the NBA has thrown them a life jacket in the form of a hardship exception, which allows the Thunder to sign an additional player to their roster.
In order for a team to qualify for the exception, which allows them to exceed the 15-man roster, no less than four players must miss three or more consecutive games, sitting out at least two weeks.
OKC has since signed guard Ish Smith, whose resume screams stop gap measure. Having played for seven teams in just four seasons, he was most recently waived by the Rockets in the preseason. Smith dressed for 70 games last season with the Suns.
At this point it’s hard to predict how long Smith will be with the Thunder. He signed a 10-day deal with the team, at the veteran’s minimum, and will likely be extended in 10-day increments, as approved by the league.