Josh Childress Signing in Greece Could Ignite a Trend

Tom BrewsterContributor IJuly 23, 2008

First was Brandon Jennings.  Now Josh Childress.

Childress, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, has been urging the Hawks to offer him a new contract. 

The team was reluctant to make any large financial commitment to Childress because the front office was more concerned with another free agent, Josh Smith. 

Childress was frustrated by the lack of progress in contract talks with the team, so he began to look elsewhere, Europe that is. 

Yesterday, Josh accepted the most lucrative contract in Euroleague history by the Greek club, Olympiakos.  The agreement was a three year deal worth $20 million.

This is big news in the world of basketball.  It is a complete reversal of what the NBA is used to, and it may be a sign of things to come.  Last year, Stephon Marbury said if he was released from the Knicks, he would be willing to go play in Italy. 

No one really took this notion seriously of big-name NBA players leaving the states to go play elsewhere, but Josh Childress made it a reality yesterday.

Josh got a much better deal in Greece than he was offered by the Hawks, practically a $1.1 million difference per year. 

Some NBA players must be saying to themselves, "hey if Josh Childress averaged only 12 ppg and five rbs last season and got $6.7 million a year, I wonder what I could get over there?" 

Josh's decision follows the move by top prep prospect Brandon Jennings to sign with an Italian Club team instead of accepting his scholarship to Arizona.  Who knows, maybe another NBA player will follow in Josh's footsteps in the near future?

We are so used to seeing players come over from Europe (Gallinari, Dirk, Ginobli, Darko, etc.), not leave for Europe.  It adds a new element to free agency because NBA teams are now likely going to be bidding with European clubs as well. 

Not only is it likely we will see more NBA players leave for Europe, but Brandon Jennings may have started a trend as well.  High school stars, who aren't too concerned about college or for that matter eligible for college, may begin to look overseas for a job. 

Not only will they get paid, but they will be playing with some of the best in the world.  It is truly an attractive option, not to mention most of these kids are 18/19 years of age and will have the chance to go live in another part of the world for a year or two.

Could basketball be headed in a new direction?  Will European basketball change the game?  Let's just see how the USA team matches up against Greece in the Olympics.