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Josh Childress weighing offer from Greek team


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LAS VEGAS In a potentially stunning move that reflects the growing challenge Europe s basketball leagues pose to the NBA, Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Josh Childress is strongly considering a three-year, $20 million offer from Greek powerhouse Olympiakos, several league sources said Sunday night.

Childress flew to Greece late Sunday and is scheduled to meet with Olympiakos officials on Monday. Childress, 25, is so flustered with the Hawks refusal to make a sign-and-trade deal to another team, one source familiar with his thinking believes there s better than a 50-50 chance he ll sign with Olympiakos.

Unless he just gets there and doesn t like it at all, I think he s going to go, one league source said.

Childress is a restricted free agent, but the Hawks would have no matching rights with a FIBA contract. Olympiakos offer also would allow Childress the opportunity to return to the NBA over the next two summers. The Hawks would maintain his restricted free-agent rights provided they make him a qualifying offer.

Childress talks with the Hawks have yet to gain traction because Atlanta officials have made it clear their first priority is to resolve negotiations with forward Josh Smith, their other restricted free agent. Privately, Childress has expressed little enthusiasm in returning to play for the organization, sources said.

The Memphis Grizzlies are the only remaining team with enough salary-cap room to make an offer exceeding the $5.6 million mid-level exception, and they so far seem content on saving their money for next summer. Several NBA GMs interested in Childress said they wouldn t make a mid-level offer to him because they believe the Hawks would match.

Childress agent, Lon Babby, has instead looked to Europe to create leverage for his client, a unique approach that would have seemed unlikely as recently as three years ago. The U.S. dollar s declining value compared to the Euro, coupled with the influx of money from Russian owners into the Euroleague, has now made Europe a much more attractive option for players.

Already this summer, the San Antonio Spurs 2007 first-round draft pick, Tiago Splitter, rejected an offer to join the NBA franchise because he can make more money by remaining in Spain. Toronto Raptors free agent Carlos Delfino signed a three-year, $13.5 million deal with Khimiki of Moscow. Juan Carlos Navarro of the Grizzlies returned to Spain for a reported five-year contract with FC Barcelona that could pay more than $20 million.

Even so, Childress, who averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season, would send far greater waves through the NBA should he leave for the Euroleague. He would be the kind of coveted, young American talent who hadn t previously left the NBA for Europe. Childress, 6-foot-8, played his college ball at Stanford, and is believed to have the international curiosity and maturity it might take to leave the NBA behind for a year.

If Childress joins Olympiakos then chooses to return to the NBA in either of the next two summers, he ll likely be entering a more lucrative free-agent market than the current one.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Agfp...o&type=lgns

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prolikewhoa (7/21/2008)
The Hawks are cursed. We're gonna lose him for nothing.

They're not cursed. They have pizz-poor management. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish Belkin had gotten control. The ASG is showing their colors, signing the cheapest GM and Coach in the league and seemingly ruining negotiations with Smith and Chillz. An absolute joke.

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Vargil (7/21/2008)
Its bad when people would rather leave the country then play for your team

Yeah, I'm sure he's going over there so he can be on a better team...The Hawks would crush any Euroleague or whatever foreign league team.

I can't hate on a guy for making the best financial decision. He'd also be considered a better player over there than he is over here. His defense will look top notch next to most European players.

I hope he doesn't do it though.

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If I were him, I'd go because of 4 reasons:

1 - the Euro kicks the dollar's azz.

2 - Greek Isles are beautiful compared to the the land-locked, gridlocked ATL.

3 - Greek women are more exotic looking compared to what Buckhead has to offer and he's in the prime of his "working the game" career.

4 - I doubt that the ASG will offer $20MM/3yr deal...

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Remarkable (7/21/2008)
Vargil (7/21/2008)
Its bad when people would rather leave the country then play for your team

Yeah, I'm sure he's going over there so he can be on a better team...The Hawks would crush any Euroleague or whatever foreign leagueteam.

I can't hate on a guy for making the best financial decision. He'd also be considered a better player over there than he is over here. His defensewill look top notch next to most European players.

I hope he doesn't do it though.

Not to mention the fact that Euro teams can offer a LOT more money than the Hawks can.

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Hastener (7/21/2008)
Remarkable (7/21/2008)
Vargil (7/21/2008)
Its bad when people would rather leave the country then play for your team

Yeah, I'm sure he's going over there so he can be on a better team...The Hawks would crush any Euroleague or whatever foreign leagueteam.

I can't hate on a guy for making the best financial decision. He'd also be considered a better player over there than he is over here. His defensewill look top notch next to most European players.

I hope he doesn't do it though.

Not to mention the fact that Euro teams can offer a LOT more money than the Hawks can.

Yeah, there was good high school player that skipped out on college ball to go play in the Euroleagues in recently.

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Remarkable (7/21/2008)
Hastener (7/21/2008)
Remarkable (7/21/2008)
Vargil (7/21/2008)
Its bad when people would rather leave the country then play for your team

Yeah, I'm sure he's going over there so he can be on a better team...The Hawks would crush any Euroleague or whatever foreign leagueteam.

I can't hate on a guy for making the best financial decision. He'd also be considered a better player over there than he is over here. His defensewill look top notch next to most European players.

I hope he doesn't do it though.

Not to mention the fact that Euro teams can offer a LOT more money than the Hawks can.

Yeah, there was good high school player that skipped out on college ball to go play in the Euroleagues in recently.

Yep. I think we're going to see an increasing number of American players jump ship to the Euro league.

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Anansi (7/21/2008)
It's sad when a Greek team is willing to offer more than a NBA team.  The Atlanta Spirit is the biggest POS ever to own a NBA team.

I told you the ASG won't do what it takes to keep a good team in Atlanta, even after what they saw in the playoffs.

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keithbrooking56 (7/21/2008)
Only an Atlanta team would be both this cheap and this pathetic to let a guy go to Europe. I can't blame Chill at all if he leaves.
me either,those teams over there dont have a salary cap,+ the hawks are taking way too long.I'd rather sign & trade chill than let him walk
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Dollars and Sense?

By Sekou K Smith | Monday, July 21, 2008, 08:39 AM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

SMYRNA - That s the only thing standing between the Hawks right now and signed contracts for both Josh Smith and Josh Childress.

The Hawks have the dollars to spend (they can bust the bank to sign both of these young cats to extensions) but don t appear to have the sense of urgency where these two guys are concerned.

If they do, they have a strange way of showing it (daily contact with your free agents apparently does not indicate that it s anything more than high-stakes phone tag to keep up appearances).

So much has been made here about Josh Smith and how his summer is playing out (more about that in a minute), but what of Josh Childress?

He is absolutely considering an offer to play overseas, Olympiakos in Greece, this season (as first reported last night by Yahoo! Sports) with the Hawks having no right to match an offer from an overseas team. This is getting nuts.

How in the world has it come to this for the Hawks and their own free agents?

Here we are, working on three weeks now without so much as a hint that the Hawks and these free agents are speaking the same (salary range) language.

That wouldn t normally be cause for concern. But since it s the Hawks and this is July (soon to be August), my sonar is bleeping like crazy.

It s going to be mid-August before you know it, and the Hawks are still going to be bogged down in negotiations that are far enough apart that neither the agents nor the team are willing to speak on it publicly (as has been the case so far for both sides, no one has spoken on the record about this stuff yet).

Something just doesn t add up folks.

There was never a reported offer to Childress last October (and I ve never been able to confirm if there was one or not), so it s hard to know what the Hawks had in mind had they been having those sorts of concrete conversations then.

If Olympiakos is indeed talking about a robust $20 million over three seasons (with the Hawks retaining Childress NBA rights, with a qualifying offer, the next two summers), Childress or any other professional athlete has to seriously consider that offer.

If this is all a ploy to put the heat on the Hawks, as one Hawks staffer insists it is, then Childress agents (Lon Babby and Jim Tanner) did a great job. Because once again the Hawks look like the cats left holding the bag

SMITH, TOO: How the sides could be this far apart where Smith is concerned makes little to no sense at all. If the Hawks were offering a starting salary of $9 million last October (as reported here last summer when it was clear that a deal was going to be tough to come by before the Oct. 31 deadline), before Smith s stellar season that culminated with a playoff berth and some rather huge moments from Smith, both sides should certainly be working in upwards of that range now. I don t think anyone s ever uttered anything about max money for Smith. But certainly something along the lines of what Kevin Martin ($55 million) and Al Jefferson ($65 million) re-upped for before the 2007-08 season.

A member of the previous Hawks front office administration famously argued me down (to the folks who saw us debating the topic at least) before a preseason game that there was no way Smith or Childress should get extensions last summer or fall because the Hawks hadn t been to the playoffs, as if they alone were responsible for it not happening prior to our verbal showdown.

If you feel that way, I told him, and this is a direct quote all of you clowns should resign on the spot or be fired for making colossal mistakes with choice draft picks most teams would die for.

My argument then and now goes something like this, if the Hawks believe at all in their scouting, coaching and training staffs and how they pick talent, develop it and nurture it - if they feel confident at all that they did the right things in drafting these guys and feel they ve progressed at a sufficient or better rate - paying the cash for extensions is merely a procedure. The figures need to be fair and probably a bit on the generous side, what with all the extra curricular activity these players have had to deal with in their four tumultuous years as staples of a beleaguered the franchise. If there was ever any doubt whatsoever, even the slightest bit & the Shelden Williams approach would have been the proper way to end the relationship.

Instead, we re heading into the tall grass section of yet another endless summer.

NOT THE SAME GAME: All that said, the former Hawks staffer I debated this with nine months ago made some good points to the contrary. He pointed to Charlotte s Emeka Okafor ($60 million turned down) and Philadelphia s Andre Iguodala ($57) and the Chicago duo of Ben Gordon ($57 million) and Luol Deng ($50 million) and argued that they were all in a class above both Smith and Childress.

I didn t agree with him then and I certainly don t agree with him now, not even close. But that wasn t even the point I was trying to make. Those teams extended offers that were legit at the time and are probably overdoing it now (at least in a couple of cases). If the Hawks were playing in that same realm, then or now, I can t imagine they would have to endure Tom Foolery that has stained the franchise this month (the negative vibes, real and imagined, are all over the place).

As one of the players said to me last week during mini-camp, What the #!*% is going on around here? That playoff series against Boston is getting further and further away and it s like we haven t had any good news since then.

OPTIONS: That brings us to the options portion of today s program, for both the players and the Hawks.

Smith and Childress, by virtue of their status as restricted free agents, only have three options at this point. They can a) come to terms with the Hawks on extensions (best case) or B) find the right sign-and-trade deal that appeases all sides (good luck) or c) bolt for a team overseas or play out the year on qualifying offers far below their true value and at great risk (someone in this restricted free agent class is bound to do it, with Childress quickly assuming the mantle of trailblazer now that he s seriously considering the offer to play in Greece).

Naturally, a) would the ideal. But B) offers some intrigue. And c) would place the player and the franchise smack in the middle of a potential firestorm if things go awry for this team early in the season, the finger pointing would be intense if this team went into training camp with not only Mike Bibby playing out the final year of his deal but also the Joshes.

It s something that you don t even want to think about going sideways, particularly after all the progress that s been made.

THE REIGN IS OVER: Since we decided against making the trip with the Hawks summer league crew this year, ending Blog-Z s seven-year reign of terror on the fine folks of Salt Lake City, like you I m left to get eyewitness updates from people who are there watching that mesmerizing action in person for the goods on Acie Law IV and the boys.

The Mad VP is on the scene, blogging live from the site and posting his stuff on Hawks.com after games. I ve already warned him to tone it down (he doesn t need to be too good or too funny, otherwise he ll put us out of business).

But he has provided some quality commentary and insight into the goings on out there that you might want to check out if the summer league team is your focus right now.

The Hawks carried a 2-0 mark into Sunday s off day, posting impressive wins over Dallas and Utah in their debut set. Jeremy Richardson appears to have shaken off whatever the ill effects of that twisted ankle were and is shooting the ball particularly well.

Luke Jackson (keep an eye on dude, he s a shooter with size and he s got some NBA experience) also seems to have gotten off to a nice start out there.

Acie Law IV and Speedy Claxton are the guys most people were focused on heading out there and they ve both had their moments, with Claxton showing well in the opener and then Law taking over things late in the second game.

I ve learned my lesson with summer league, however. Whatever goes on there is merely a glimpse and not the full story about a guy.

honest to goodness, if we can't sign these guys, it just might fully end my support of this team until this ownership group is gone.  it's sofa king ridiculous.

sofaking.jpg

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Shaud (7/21/2008)
I think he's doing it to try and get more money out of the Hawks. I seriously doubt he plays over there.

and the Top High School Point Guard that didn't, did it because there was question about his SAT scores.

I'm not sure who wrote the article but if they are offering 3 years/ $20 million there then that equates to 3 years/ $31 million here. If that's the case, **** right I am going.

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If he did go you can't really blame anyone. ASG sucks, but I can't blame them for not having magical powers. No one would pay Childress that much. Even though his defense sucked and he didn't care for defensive boards, he will definitely be missed. We won't be able to fill his spot with anyone on his level. Marvin is going to have to step up.

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