Josh Childress

We usually dont see players leaving the nba to play overseas.

Childress explores options – in Greece
Hawks restricted free agent swingman Josh Childress spent Monday in Athens, Greece, not Georgia, exploring his options beyond the NBA.

Childress and at least one of his agents, Jim Tanner, were in Greece to visit officials from European power Olympiakos and discuss the possibility of Childress playing the upcoming season there rather than with the Hawks or any other NBA team.

Greece’s Olympiakos club has reportedly offered Hawks reserve forward Josh Childress, a restricted free agent, a three-year contract in excess of $20 million.

Just how serious Childress is about blazing that trail remains to be seen and can only be answered if and when he makes a decision about that offer.

Tanner confirmed by phone Monday that they were indeed in Athens, but declined to comment further about the deal being offered by Olympiakos.

It’s a development that Hawks general manager Rick Sund knew about and was prepared for after daily negotiations with Childress’ Washington-based agents since the July 1 free agency period began.

And Sund insists that just because Childress is considering his options overseas doesn’t mean the Hawks aren’t done negotiating to bring him back to Atlanta.

“We’ve had some dialogue during the negotiation process and we’ve presented a proposal that we think is extremely competitive to the NBA market,” Sund said Monday from Salt Lake City, where the Hawks’ summer league team is playing in the Rocky Mountain Revue. “Josh’s agent, Lon Babby, is doing his due diligence by continuing to explore options. I know they’ve talked to teams in the [NBA], and looked at teams with cap space, negotiated with us and now he’s looking at global opportunities while at the same time continuing to have a dialogue with us.”

Where the sides haven’t been able to connect is on a salary figure. Yahoo! Sports reported the offer from Olympiakos, one of the most fabled teams in Europe, to be for three years and in excess of $20 million.

Sund refused to speak about specific figures, but the Hawks are believed to have made a proposal with a first-year salary in excess of the NBA’s mid-level exception, which is $5.5 million. And the Hawks are the only team capable of including incentives in a contract to kick that average salary up higher.

A five-year deal from the Hawks would be anywhere from $33 million to $36 million for Childress, depending on the incentives.

With no salary cap for European teams, Olympiakos can offer whatever they’d like to entice Childress to leave the NBA for a stint in the international game. The Hawks also lose the right to match any offers made to Childress, a condition of his restricted free agency, because they wouldn’t be competing against another NBA team.

But if Childress were to sign a contract with Olympiakos the Hawks would retain his NBA rights for the next two years, provided they make him a qualifying offer upon his return.

In a summer that has moved particularly slowly for not only the Hawks’ restricted free agents, both Childress and Josh Smith, but also the entire crop of high-profile restricted free agents — Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and the Chicago duo of Luol Deng and Ben Gordon being the others — the offer to Childress by Olympiakos is the boldest move yet.

Sund, however, was content Monday to continue working through the process the way he promised he would when it started July 1.

“I’ve told all the representatives of the players that we’ll negotiate in good faith and with a sense of honor and integrity,” Sund said. “We will not give out daily updates and weather reports on the process. I feel like that’s the only professional way to do it.”


sounds like quite a bit of money to be made overseas? do many players get paid in the millions overseas?