Josh Childress never imagined his NBA career would veer off into the path it did -- when he went from a solid NBA sixth man to a pioneer.The former Hawks' swingman signed a three-year contract with Greek powerhouse Olympiacos, accepting their $20 million (net after taxes paid by the club) offer over a longer and less lucrative offer per yearly average, five years and $33 million, from the Hawks.
The Hawks' slow-paced negotiating tactics coupled with the limits of restricted free agency didn't help their cause. But Childress saw something more than just dollars. He said he saw the opportunity to think outside the box and do something that no other player at this stage of his NBA career had ever done.
Whether or not he has started a trend won't be known until later. But Childress will be keeping an eye on the future.
"I've talked with a few guys and it could become a trend," Childress said Wednesday. "I'm not so sure it won't. It's certainly different. We thought outside the box on this one. If players can see a fellow NBA athlete come overseas and live a normal life and adjust to the culture and think, 'Why not me?' I'm also interested to see how these next weeks turn out for some of the other restricted free agents in my draft class."
Some of the other restricted free agents in his class were interested to see how things played out for Childress. One Greek newspaper report indicated that representatives for at least two other players contacted Olympiacos to let the team know that if they didn't reach terms with Childress that they'd be interested in the same offer.
"I just think logic dictates that if you believe in the globalization of the sport, there is no reason the path can't travel in both directions," said Childress' Washington-based agent Lon Babby, a veteran who has seen the change in the NBA's tide over the past two decades. "Given the relative strength of the Euro (currency), there are teams with the relative ability to compete with NBA teams for players. It's going to change the dynamic of the process and I'm sure some others will look at it and it could become a part of the business."