Sunday, July 27, 2008

NBA players running overseas, the latest fad?

With the latest Josh Childress saga, the one that ended with him signing in Europe to play for a Greek team, now it seems as if every other mid level free agent is 'threatening' to sign overseas. Depend on the Hawks to botch a situation so badly that a player they want and a player that contributes to their team goes overseas instead of re-signing with them. All that positive vibe that they gained from the playoff run last year, is drying up.

As a restricted free agent, the Hawks had the right to match any offer to Childress from an NBA team, but not from an International team. The contract that the Greek club gave Childress Olympiacos is worth 20 million after taxes over the course of three years. It is the richest contract in the Euro league currently and the biggest signed in Euro league history. Last season Childress averaged 12 PPG and 5 RPG as he helped Atlanta make the playoffs and push the eventual World Champion Celtics to seven games. Over his four year career Childress averaged 11 points and 5.6 RPG with the Hawks.

Childress claims he wanted to re-sign with the Hawks, but due to their lack of urgency he looked elsewhere. I don't buy that, I think the real issue was his reduced role under Coach Mike Woodson and his subsequent dislike for him. I mean, is there anybody on the Hawks that actually likes Mike Woodson? All I ever read is how all the players dislike him. You combine Childress apparent dislike for Woodson with the fact that Atlanta could match any offer given to him as a result of his restricted free agent status.

As far as it becoming a fad, I can see it becoming a safety blanket for current NBA players for a few reasons.

- It is essentially a counter to restricted free agency. In Childress case he didn't want to return to the Hawks, but the Hawks have all his rights so if they match an offer he doesn't have much of a choice. It's either a sign and trade or be stuck where he doesn't want to be. The Hawks, and every other team for that matter cannot match an offer from an International team. In Childress case he got more money to play overseas anyway.

-The economy in the U.S isn't exactly dazzling right now, and the currency of the Euro dollar looks better and better. Not to mention that these players can get more money from the Euro teams, anyway.

- After each year in the contract, the player can opt out. So in Childress case, he leaves Atlanta where he didn't want to be, goes overseas and makes a cool 7 million. He can also boost his value, and by next season the salaries will once again go up so he can get a long term with a deal. In essence playing in Greece is a stop gap, one that will pay Childress 7 million. Not too shabby, eh?

So far the following players have left the States to bolt for Europe are:
Player NBA team European team
Primoz Brezec Raptors Virtus Roma
Josh Childress Hawks Olympiakos
Carlos Delfino Raptors Khimki BC
Juan Carlos Navarro Grizzlies F.C. Barcelona
Bostjan Nachbar Nets Dynamo Moscow

While this list doesn't necessary knock your socks off, starting players such as Delonte West of the Cavaliers and Andres Biedrins, the young double double machine for the Warriors are also threatening to go to Europe. Could this be a trend? Could this be a detriment to the NBA? Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Amani Roberts said...

Very nice opinion stated there. Good inside info about Delonte and Briziec (sp?) ... Keep it up. Good to see an article outside of New York sports. ;-)