Thunder release Sebastian Telfair

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With their hardship exception expiring, the Oklahoma City Thunder released point guard Sebastian Telfair to reduce the roster to the required 15-player maximum.

Ish Smith, who was signed to the team Nov. 7 under the hardship provision, will remain on the roster as the team's third point guard.

The Thunder were granted the hardship exception after having four players injured for an extended period of time. But with the looming returns of Kevin Durant, Mitch McGary and Russell Westbrook -- who could play as early as Friday against the Knicks -- the Thunder were not going to renew the exception and needed to reduce their roster, electing to keep Smith instead of Telfair.

Smith is a player the Thunder were interested in during the summer because of his speed and athleticism, but he was under contract with the Rockets, before being waived during their training camp. He has appeared in six games for the Thunder, averaging 2.2 points and 0.8 assists.

Telfair was signed during the summer after playing last season in China. He appeared in 16 games, averaging 8.4 points and 2.8 assists in 20.9 minutes per game.