--What impact Josh Childress' decision to play in Greece has on future restricted free agents remains to be seen. But you can bet that they'll consider the option of going overseas as part of their thought process before making a decision."I'm sure the players would like the system to be rethought," Lon Babby, one of Childress' agents, said when asked if the system was broken. "We'll see how it goes. I never underestimate the power of the NBA to respond to market trends."
The market for Childress in the NBA consisted of teams that coveted his services but had no recourse to pry him away from the Hawks because only teams under the league's salary cap could pursue him. And even if they had decided to tender an offer sheet, the Hawks owned the right to match any offers within seven days of Childress signing one.
By opting for an overseas alternative, Babby and Jim Tanner, another of Childress' agents and the chief negotiator on the contract with Olympiacos, snatched the leverage away from the Hawks after all the NBA teams with cap space had spent their money.
The Hawks retain Childress' NBA rights for at least the next two years, provided they tender qualifying offers to him every summer. If they don't, Childress becomes an unrestricted free agent and can pursue his future without the Hawks receiving any compensation.
Childress' contract with Olympiacos also offers the flexibility to return to the NBA via an opt-out clause at the end of the first two years of the deal. There's also no buyout clause in the deal, meaning Childress will be allowed to weigh his options every summer the same way he did this time around.
--Hawks' fans still have to fret over the fate of Josh Smith, their other restricted free agent.
The Hawks have yet to make a formal offer to Smith (resting on the $9 million they offered him and he turned down last October). Smith's camp has made it clear that they believe his value is greater than the offer being extended and the negotiations, while not publicly contentious, are far from warm and fuzzy.
It's a strange development for a team that has thrived off of Smith's energy and defensive prowess the past four years. Surely they value him the way other teams around the league do (he made visits to both Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Clippers before both opted for easier paths to filling their needs).
But the Hawks contend that without an offer sheet from someone else to drive up the price, they'll not bid against themselves to keep a player that has no other leverage.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I signed this deal with the intention of playing with Olympiacos for the duration, but obviously, if an opportunity comes up in the NBA I'm more than willing to have my ears open to it. I'm an NBA player and I think I've proven that. This is a little change up." -- Former Hawks swingman Josh Childress, on his intentions in Greece.