The Hawks still entertain hopes of making it a competitive series against Orlando. A significant percentage of Atlanta — at least according to my unscientific sampling of emails, blogs, comments and sports talk — seems focused on something else: change.
Given that, here’s one name to keep in mind: Josh Childress. He is still playing in Greece and his NBA rights are still owned by the Hawks. Childress wouldn’t solve the team’s deficiencies at point guard or center. But he’s another potential body in the mix as general manager Rick Sund considers trade (or sign-and-trade) possibilities this summer.
The only reason I’m bringing this up now is a Washington Post reporter caught up with Childress in Paris at the EuroLeague Final Four. There wasn’t a lot new in today’s article but Childress reminded us that he has until July 15 to opt out of the final season of his three-year, tax-free, $20 million contract.
A few excerpts:
♦ When asked to compare the EuroLeague playoffs to the NBA playoffs with the Hawks: “I don’t know. In Atlanta, we never got out of the first round.”
♦ On criticism that followed when his statistics didn’t meet expectations of fans, given his inflated salary: “It was tough, real tough. When you play for one of the top teams over here, there’s no such thing as flying under the radar. You’re nitpicked on everything, and there were a lot of expectations about me. … I had to learn to be thick-skinned.”
♦ Greek journalists interviewed were “virtually unanimous” that Childress would return to the NBA next season, according to the Post, but his only comments were: “”I’ll decide by July 15. But right now, I have a lot to accomplish still — this tournament, and then the rest of the season in the Greek league. … It’s been an excellent two years. It’s been a growing experience, yes, but I never saw this as a temporary fix. I thought of it as a three-year deal, and it could very well end that way.”
So, do you see Childress playing for the Hawks again, or as a valuable piece in a trade?