Josh Childress Joins the Euroleague: The Future Of NBA Free Agency Is In Doubt.

Ron GloverSenior Analyst IJuly 23, 2008

Within two weeks, the NCAA and the NBA have been told what they can do with their age restrictions and free agency dollars.

On July 9, Brandon Jennings shunned the NCAA to play basketball professionally in Europe until he is eligible for the NBA Draft next season.

Earlier today, Atlanta Hawks free agent forward Josh Childress signed with Olympiakos of the Euroleague for three seasons.

Where does this leave the future of free agency in the NBA? 

The Atlanta Hawks will not have to worry about the loss of forward Josh Childress coming back to haunt them next season.

Not in an NBA uniform anyway.

The free agent small forward has signed a deal to play with Olympiakos, a Grecian team in the Euroleague for three years.

The Hawks were able to match any offer from an NBA team but not from foreign teams. Childress’ deal is said to be worth $20 million after taxes making his deal the highest of any player signed to the Euroleague.

The guaranteed deal, which he can opt out of after each year, is more than what Childress would have earned in the NBA.

Childress averaged 11.1 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Hawks last season.

So where does this leave the future of free agency in the NBA?

If players are going to earn this amount AFTER taxes, and possibly opt-out after each season. Leaves NBA Commissioner David Stern with his hands tied.

Each season, NBA players end up going to Europe to play, some even finish their careers there. However, none of those players have turned down or signed for the money that Childress is going earn.

I’m not worried about the top tier free agents just yet, but for the Josh Childress’ of the world, this is a feather in the cap of “the glue guys” of the NBA that feel like their being low-balled in the American market.

David Stern has to be worried but fair exchange is no robbery, the number of foreign players has increased drastically.

Bottom line: the world is no longer a farm system for the NBA. Stern had better rethink the eligibility rule.


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