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July 23, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
The Atlanta Hawks reportedly offered Josh Childress a five-year, $33 million contract, but it apparently wasn't enough: Childress is officially taking his game (and afro) to Greece. Earlier this morning, Childress agreed to a three-year deal with the Greek club Olympiakos, worth around $20 million. It is the biggest contract in European basketball history.
"It's official, I just signed," Childress said by phone Wednesday morning from Athens, where he and agent Jim Tanner will be until Friday. "I think it was . . . a situation where I didn't know who to expect coming in, coming over to Athens. But it's a great city and a great organization. They do whatever they can to make you feel at home."
This is a new low, even for the Hawks, who were unable to match the offer, or receive any compensation, since Childress left for a non-NBA team.
With Brandon Jennings spurning Arizona for the Italian club Virtus Roma, and now Childress off to Greece, this could be the start of a new trend (and a scary one if your David Stern). The Big Lead points out that these aren't the only two examples this summer: "Bostjan Nachbar (Nets to Russia), Juan Navarro (Memphis to Spain), Carlos Delfino (Toronto to Russia), Primoz Brezec (Toronto to Rome) and Jorge Garbajosa (Toronto to somewhere)."
With the strength of the Euro, no salary cap in the European leagues and player-friendly contracts (Childress can opt-out after each season), this movement across the Atlantic could become a serious threat to the NBA, one I doubt many people saw coming.