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    NBA star Smith bidding to join college golf team

    China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-13 09:19
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    Former NBA star JR Smith went straight from high school basketball to the pros. Now he's hoping to use his NCAA eligibility on a different sport altogether.

    Smith, 35, has enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University, and is attempting to make the school's golf team.

    Smith revealed his plans to reporters at the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship on Wednesday, where he was playing in the proam.

    NBA legend Ray Allen got Smith interested in pursuing college during a conversation they had while on a vacation to the Dominican Republic.

    "He was talking about some of the things he was doing by going back to school, challenging yourself and stuff for us athletes," Smith said.

    Smith, who says he has a 5 handicap, will pursue a liberal studies degree at NC A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    The 16-year NBA vet last appeared in the league in 2019-20, when he saw game action six times for the Los Angeles Lakers. A former first-round pick of the then-New Orleans Hornets in 2004, the guard has career averages of 12.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest over 977 career games (395 starts).

    He played for the Hornets (2004-06), Denver Nuggets (2006-11), New York Knicks (2011-15), Cleveland Cavaliers (2015-19) and Lakers.

    In recent years, he's perhaps best remembered for dribbling out the clock at the end of regulation in an NBA Finals Game 1 when he believed the Cavaliers were in the lead, but the score was in fact tied-frustrating teammate LeBron James.

    With golf, Smith said he's looking forward to the individual nature of the sport.

    "Golf is one of those games that can have you feeling really high or bring you down to your knees and humble you," Smith said. "To have that feeling and knowing that all of the game is pretty much on my own hands, and I don't have to worry about teammates to pass the ball to or receiving passes and playing defense. I can just play my game and just have fun."

    Walker going 'home'

    Kemba Walker and the Knicks finalized a contract on Wednesday to bring the four-time NBA All-Star guard back to his New York roots.

    Walker's two-year contract is worth around $16 million, according to multiple reports.

    "We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker Kemba Walker back to the city he's proud to call home. He's a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization,"Knicks president Leon Rose said in a team statement.

    "We've already seen how well he performs on The Garden stage and can't wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends and the best fans in the league."

    The deal follows a buyout of Walker's contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Walker had two years and $74 million remaining on the $140.8 million deal he inked with the Boston Celtics in 2019.

    The Celtics traded Walker to Oklahoma City in June in exchange for center Al Horford and the 16th pick in last week's draft. The Thunder flipped the pick for two future first-round picks.

    Walker, 31, was born in the Bronx and played his high school ball for Rice in Manhattan before starring at UConn in college.

    Walker had an injury-riddled two years in Boston. Drafted No 9 overall by Charlotte in 2011, Walker played in just 43 games in 2020-21 and averaged 19.3 points per game-his lowest scoring average since 2014-15.

    Schroder joins Celtics

    German point guard Dennis Schroder said this week he is signing a one-year contract with the Boston Celtics, ending a one-year spell with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    "I'm proud to announce that for the 2021-22 season I'll be playing with the Boston Celtics!" Schroder wrote on Instagram.

    "This is one of the best franchises in NBA history and an honor to put on the green and white and do what I love! I'm going out there every night and leaving it all on the floor for the city!! Who's ready?!"

    ESPN reported Schroder's free-agent deal with the Celtics is for the $5.9 million mid-level exception, and it comes after he reportedly turned down a four-year, $84 million extension offer from the Lakers in March to see if he could do better as a free agent.

    The 27-year-old arrived in Los Angeles in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder prior to last season.

    He averaged 15.4 points per game for the Lakers in a season that saw him miss two weeks late in the campaign because of the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

    The Lakers, who won the 2020 NBA title in the league's quarantine bubble in Orlando, were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 playoffs by the Phoenix Suns.

    In a bid to return to the summit they signed superstar guard Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards.

    Boston was looking to add a point guard after dealing away Walker to the Thunder.

    Agencies

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