When Josh Childress spurned a multi-million dollar offer from the Atlanta Hawks to sign with a Greek team in late July, he began a summer exodus of NBA players crossing the Atlantic. While all eyes are currently on Beijing, where 42 NBA players are suiting up for 10 of the 12 Olympic teams, NBA fans and officials can’t ignore the emerging European market.
Europe has long been the bastion of not quite ready for primetime players and over-the-hill stars who can’t seem to let go of the game. This off season, however, the 25 year-old Childress became the first NBA player to jump ship at this key stage in his career. Childress, who averaged 11.8 points per game for Atlanta last season, turned down a 5-year, $33 million dollar deal from the Hawks to sign a 3-year, $32.5 million dollar deal with Olympiacos in Greece. “Given the strength of the Euro, it is very attractive for some players to head to Europe for a larger take-home salary than they would receive here in the US,” Utah Jazz center Jarron Collins exclusively tells MainStreet. “Also, in the case of Childress’ deal, he can opt out after every year of his deal and pursue a contract in the NBA if he chooses.”