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John Bazemore/AP
Josh Childress

Will More NBA Players Follow Childress to Europe?

July 25, 2008 04:40 PM
by Denis Cummings
Josh Childress turned down a contract offer from the Atlanta Hawks to sign in Europe and he believes other players will soon follow him.

30-Second Summary

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Childress received a three-year deal from Greek club Olympiakos worth about $20 million after taxes. It is far more than he would have received from any NBA team.

As a restricted free agent, Childress could have signed with any other NBA team, but the Hawks would have had the right to match the contract. As a result, the Hawks showed little urgency to resign Childress.

“The luxury of sitting back and matching whatever offer comes to such a player … soon could be gone, if more agents and players seriously consider the prospect of playing overseas,” writes Sports Illustrated’s Steve Aschburner.

Childress’s decision comes as more foreign players who could receive regular playing time in the NBA—such as Juan Carlos Navarro, Bostjan Nachbar and Carlos Delfino—are choosing to leave for Europe. It also comes soon after high school star Brandon Jennings decided to play a year in Italy rather than attend college.

Many speculated that other high school graduates would follow Jennings’s lead, but few expected that an American player as good as Childress would choose to leave the NBA for Europe.

“I’ve talked to a few guys, and it could become a trend,” Childress said. “If players can see a fellow NBA athlete come overseas and live a normal life and adjust to the culture [they may] think, why not me?”

The NBA isn’t the only American sports league facing competition from Europe. A newly-formed Russian hockey league has been offering massive contracts to NHL stars and was able to lure aging superstar Jaromir Jagr.

Headline Link: Childress signs with Greek team

Background: Childress’s contract negotiation

Opinion & Analysis: What affect will the move have on the NBA?

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