Euro-xodus?

24 07 2008

Greece, what a place to live!  Fine food, beautiful cities, amazing history…

The news that Josh Childress has signed with Olympiakos has to surprise many, but given the money that’s being thrown around in Europe, it was really only a matter of time.

Recently, more and more European players have elected to take bigger contracts in Europe than were being offered to them in the NBA.  This summer, talk was of Brandon Jennings bypassing college and heading to Europe.  His test scores meant that he was ineligible for many of the top hoop schools, and rather than take a chance on a lower tier school that could find a way to accept him, Jennings will head to Europe and play pro-ball for a year.

Childress beat him to the punch tho’, and this really signals a change in the status quo.  Not that the top line stars presence in the NBA will be threatened in the foreseeable future, but Josh Childress gave the Atlanta Hawks 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds a game last season, coming off the pine.

The Hawks apparently offered Childress a deal somewhere between $5.5-6 million a year, but exact details are unknown.  The Olympiakos three-year deal was worth about $20 million. Guaranteed money, and Childress gets to elect as to whether he wants to opt out of the contract after each year.  With the growing strength of the Euro versus the falling US dollar, that’s big dollars.  The Hawks can keep his NBA rights, and he remains a restricted free agent – if they do so… but that would mean they make a qualifying offer each year, and that’s going to count against their salary cap.

The fact that Europe now has the financial wherewithal to make offers like this gives mid-level players leverage that they previously did not have.

Currently within soccer and rugby, high level players declining with age sign mega-buck contracts outside of the mainstream markets.  Think David Beckham… within rugby union, recently former Australian captain George Gregan and compatriot Stephen Larkham headed to Japan to sign big contracts.  Eventually the same will happen in the NBA, with falling stars heading over to the European game.  One day, as Adrian Wojnarowski points out, we’ll even see a superstar heading there.

But today… it’s Josh Childress.

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3 responses

25 07 2008
Julien

It’s an event. That’s the very first time an NBA player still in his prime decides to leave the league for an Euro team. Maybe he’s gonna launch a new trend.

25 07 2008
nursedude

Don, it doesn’t hurt to get paid in Euros, since the dollar is getting the crap beat out of it-and your Euro will go farther in Greece than it will in France or Northern Europe.

26 07 2008
Sportsattitude

I would not be surprised to see this sort of thing happen more often. Hockey is experiencing the same thing. Some hoopsters come out of college and head to other parts of the globe in hopes of either launching a future NBA career or just continuing their game and get compensated for it…Lute Olson @ Arizona just found out the hard way players out of high school are now going to consider overseas an option to a “one-and-done” college “career.”

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