CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith admitted Thursday that he played a round of golf over the summer with Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, but said the conversation stuck more to the linx than the hardwood.
"We talked about [Smith’s free-agent status], but mainly we kept it to golf and stuff like that," Smith said after the Cavaliers posted a 128-122 triumph against the Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena. "I told him I would let my agent handle all of that stuff. So it was great to play golf with him."
The Celtics, armed with the sort of cap flexibility that might have allowed them to pursue another established name after signing Al Horford, were in the market for a shooter this summer but ultimately elected to sign veteran Gerald Green to a one-year, minimum-salary contract.
Smith had to wait until mid-October before signing a four-year, $57 million deal to return to the Cavaliers.
Smith said he played in a foursome with Ainge at Southern Highlands in Las Vegas. Teaming with Celtics equipment manager John Connor, Smith said the duo emerged victorious over Ainge's squad, but only because Ainge’s low handicap gave them an advantage.
"[Ainge is] really good," said Smith. "The only reason why we won is we got strokes."
Smith, an avid golfer, said he was down to a 4 handicap two summers ago, but hasn’t played enough to maintain that number.
"Last summer I only played like four times," said Smith. "I need to [play more golf]."
Cleveland's deep playoff runs seem to be making it difficult for Smith to golf. Turning toward some of his Cavaliers teammates, he playfully announced, "Let me get some more time off!"