Ish Smith is among the veteran point guards with whom the Thunder have made contact as they seek to make up for their rash of injuries, according to TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Oklahoma City has also reportedly expressed interest in Gal Mekel, but the team has yet to make any decision as it waits for the NBA to give its approval for the club to add a 16th player. The team has applied for that special hardship provision, as had been expected, Aldridge writes.
Smith is a four-year veteran who saw a career-high 14.4 minutes per game across 70 appearances with the Suns last season. He signed a fully guaranteed one-year contract for the minimum salary with the Rockets this past offseason, but Houston waived him last week amid a numbers crunch after Isaiah Canaan made a late preseason push to unseat him as the team’s backup point guard.
Oklahoma City had just eight healthy players available for Saturday’s game against the Nuggets as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Mitch McGary, Anthony Morrow and Grant Jerrett all nursed injuries. All but Jackson and Lamb are expected to miss at least two weeks of time, making it likely the NBA will see fit to award the temporary 16th roster spot. That provision is for teams with four players who are sick or injured and who’ll continue to be out after already having missed three games, as Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ explains.
The Thunder have 14 fully guaranteed contracts, and their only non-guaranteed pact is with Lance Thomas, who is among the club’s few healthy players. Oklahoma City won’t consider signing 29th overall pick Josh Huestis to fill the void, according to Aldridge. Huestis made an unusual arrangement with the team to sign with its D-League affiliate, and it seems the Thunder don’t want to deviate from that plan to alleviate their injury concerns.