“It™s a groundbreaking move for all sorts of reasons,” writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sekou Smith, “none of them terribly thrilling for the Hawks and their tattered reputation.” But enough about plans to build a statue of Jon Koncak in front of Phillips Arena, F/G Josh Childress bolting Atlanta in favor of a supposed 3-year, $32 million deal with Olympiakos doesn’t bode well, either.
Childress, 25, is the first player at this stage of his NBA career to spurn the world’s most high profile basketball stage for one of its international alternatives.
Atlanta had offered him a five-year, $33 million contract. But the Hawks’ slow-paced negotiating tactics and the limits of restricted free agency, combined with what Childress called Wednesday the “opportunity of a lifetime,” resulted in his decision.
Whether or not others follow remains to be seen, but Pandora’s Box has clearly been snatched open.
“I’ve talked with a few guys and it could become a trend,” Childress said Wednesday. “I’m not so sure it won’t. It’s certainly different. We thought outside the box on this one. If players can see a fellow NBA athlete come overseas and live a normal life and adjust to the culture and think why not me? I’m also interested to see how these next weeks turn out for some of the other restricted free agents in my draft class.”
One Greek newspaper reported that representatives for at least two other players contacted Olympiakos to let the team know that if it didn’t reach terms with Childress that they’d be interested in the same offer. Seven players who were on NBA rosters last season have turned down offers from NBA teams this summer to play in Europe, including Juan Carlos Navarro, Bostjan Nachbar and Carlos Delfino.