A blast from the past: Josh Childress and his NBA future

The Hawks are fighting for playoff position. The Lakers play at Philips Arena tomorrow night. And today we concern ourselves with … the Euroleague?

Why, yes. It might have escaped your notice that Olympiacos — sometimes spelled “Olympiakos” — of Greece has reached the quarterfinals of the European basketball playoffs and is leading Asseco Prokom of Poland 2-0 in its best-of-five series. (Game 3 is tonight in Gdynia, Poland.) This is noteworthy because Josh Childress, once a Hawk, has scored 13 and 11 points for Olympiacos in Games 1 and 2.

Even if you don’t follow basketball outside the U.S., you know Childress. He was the sixth player drafted in June 2004 — Josh Smith was the 17th — and he serve the Hawks well for four seasons. Then, rather than re-sign here or jump to another NBA team as a free agent, he left the country. He signed with Olympiacos for $20 million over three seasons — this is the second — but has the option of terminating his contract after each season should he choose to return to the NBA.

As noted by Jeff Zillgitt and J. Michael Falgoust in USA Today, Childress is again considering his options. “I’d be leaning toward finishing my contract [with Olympiacos],” he said. Should he decide otherwise, he’d still have to go through the Hawks.

From Zillgitt and Falgoust: “Childress can opt out of his contract with Olympiacos after this season but would be a restricted free agent with Atlanta. Or he can sign a qualifying offer from the Hawks for one year and become a free agent in 2011 or sign a longer deal with the Hawks if they offer one. Childress also can sign an offer sheet with another team, but Atlanta can match it.”

In sum, Childress’ status with the Hawks hasn’t changed since July 2008. The Hawks didn’t make a big run at him last summer — they were in the process of re-upping Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams and Zaza Pachulia — and have a more pressing issue ahead. Joe Johnson, as you might have read, is due to become a free agent on July 1, 2010, and the course of the franchise could well turn on what he does.

If Johnson leaves, a one-year qualifying offer to Childress might become a fairly cheap stopgap option. (I don’t know that Rick Sund would offer more than that because Sund, who didn’t draft Childress, has never seemed as high on him as was Billy Knight, who did.)

Understand: Childress is not Joe Johnson. Childress was a good NBA sixth man who seems to have settled at Olympiacos. As Nick Gibson writes for Slam Online: “After a rookie year of ups and downs, Childress has bumped his EL scoring from 8.8 to 14.7 on 63 percent shooting and just might earn a spot on the All-Euroleague team.” But he’s not the Olympiacos star: That would be Linas Kleiza, the Lithuanian who left the Denver Nuggets last summer to become a Grecian earner.

File Childress’ name away. He might again be a non-story, Hawks-wise, this summer. But if Johnson departs, J-Chill might become a local factor.


72 comments Add your comment

Blindog

March 30th, 2010
9:27 am

OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bryan G.

March 30th, 2010
9:29 am

Um, why is he posterizing his teammate?

PMC

March 30th, 2010
9:32 am

cool hair…. unfortunate waste of another high draft pick.

In a guard driven league…. Billy Knight was partying like it was 1979

Blindog

March 30th, 2010
9:34 am

Not really excited about the article,I just wanted to keep some bozo from saying “first”!!

You can pick my name

March 30th, 2010
9:42 am

I said first! Do I get kudos?

Wondering the some thing as Bryan G.

I’m just glad this wasn’t about Paul Hewitt, and that it wasn’t a summary of someone else’s column!

glw

March 30th, 2010
9:43 am

I think Sund’s plan all along especially after Joe didnt reup last summer was to let Childress stay stashed away in Europe. He also knows that should Joe choose to leave, he always has Childress as an option to try and entice back, plus with Crawford back, while the team would change, at least losing Joe wouldnt be catastrophic.

Barry

March 30th, 2010
9:45 am

“Grecian earner”? Groan.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 30th, 2010
9:47 am

if JJ leaves scoring would be needed , childress has never been a big scorer has he ? what was his average while with the hawks 10 or 12 points per game ? is he a super defender ? I really don’t remember much about him. it might even take him a year to get back into the level of competition in the NBA .

O'Brien

March 30th, 2010
9:50 am

Mark,

How can Sund not think highly of Chills (who had the same average as Marvin did, despite coming off the bench and having an ugly form on his shots), but yet Sund thinks so highly of Marvin?

At the end of games, Woody usually had Chills in the game (Marvin on the bench), and Chills was known for his hustle, and timely plays and rebounds. What is Marvin known for?

Even if JJ resigns, we need to get Chills back, because he gives us another weapon. And if we dont want him back (or if his price is too high), then sign and trade him.

dap01

March 30th, 2010
10:00 am

Good article MB: Have you heard how Childress is progressing? Has his game evolved or improved?

gmoney

March 30th, 2010
10:01 am

The Europeon championships. So can the winner claim to be World Champions like the USA teams do.

MannyT

March 30th, 2010
10:01 am

O’Brien, I think you hit the Sund Emergency Plan on the head. If JJ leaves, he knows Chills wants more than Sund is likely to pay. However. if he can sign & trade him, then the Hawks might get an asset that Sund likes while keeping the current players in place.

Chills might go for it because it gets him away from that one year tender and gets him a better NBA contract than he would get from Sund. If this was only about money, Chills stays in Greece regardless of Sund’s actions. In that case, Sund may need to move his rights for a draft pick.

Next he’ll have to figure out what to do about the coaching position. That decision could do more to determine Sund’s future than the JJ call. If he pulls a Dumars and brings in some discount coach and the team sucks…that sucking sound will be the vacuum that takes Sund out of Atlanta.

BWAF

athdog

March 30th, 2010
10:09 am

Sounds like Childress and Kleiza are quite the ‘Grecian Formula’…thank you, I’ll be here all week.

BubbaDaHoopsta

March 30th, 2010
10:12 am

The man turned his back on the Hawks & went for the $$$, Free Apartment & Car…He didn’t want to be here in ATL then…what makes you think so now? He’s Averaging 14 pts against Former FSR Misfits & Mediterranean Midgets…Spend Joe’s money on someone who can fill his role, or even better someone who can “Score and Lead”…Trade J-Childs rights to the Nets, Knicks or Wizards and let him see how far Bench Player money goes in the most expensive cities on the East Coast…Joe goes…J-Smoothes Team…J-Child won’t go for that…

MannyT

March 30th, 2010
10:18 am

@dap01. This link gives some highlights in a YouTube box. Not much insight, but it’s something.

There is also a Hoopinion article today on Josh

I wonder how the possible departure of Woody might play in Josh’s decision? Lot’s of factors, but I suspect he will always make more in the Euroleagues than here.

BWAF

RambleOn84

March 30th, 2010
10:19 am

Bryan G.,
I was thinking the same thing…they must be playing some great basketball over there in Greece, where your own player routinely impedes your path to the basket…

come on

March 30th, 2010
10:19 am

maybe the hawks can talk him into coming back. he would offer some depth off the bench that we need

James Adams

March 30th, 2010
10:23 am

I, too, am curious as to why his teammate is arm-checking him during a dunk. Can we get someone to do that to Josh when he winds up from the outside?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 30th, 2010
10:26 am

Childress and Joe are totally different kinds of players, and bringing back Chills would do nothing to solve the gaping scoring hole the Hawks would have if Joe Johnson leaves. Childress is a good player, but not a great scorer. That said, I’d rather see him start at small forward for the Hawks than Marvin.

Tim from EP

March 30th, 2010
10:30 am

sign & trade JJ for Devin Harris

azcat225

March 30th, 2010
10:34 am

Grecian earner…you crack me up sometimes, MB. ;-)

bigeasy830

March 30th, 2010
10:36 am

J-Chill brings more to the table than Marvin Williams. If Joe leaves we can build our team around Crawford as the scorer and J-Chill will be a very good role player. He was great a couple of years ago bring the ball down court and running the offense. he may be a good starter and have Mavin come off the bench. J Chill is a very good player and could definitely help this team next season if Joe leaves or stay.

Hydrologic Region

March 30th, 2010
10:43 am

Bill Simmons is great:
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/100326

This month’s ultimate “better than his teammates” example: Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors. For all we know, he might be the next Kevin Garnett. (Not saying he is; just saying that there’s no way of knowing.) His guards were gawd-awful and couldn’t get him the ball. His coach seemed uninterested in running plays through him (although to be fair, Paul Hewitt might just be in a coma). And if that wasn’t enough, his only good teammate played the exact same position and had his own first-round ideas. We learned nothing from his two March Madness games. Favors may as well have played in the 2010 Kazakhstan Cup.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

March 30th, 2010
10:49 am

I like Chills better than Marvin “Duckbill Dinosaur” Williams, who really isn’t very good.

lakers are in town

March 30th, 2010
11:02 am

F j- chill lets talk about what kobe and the lakers are going to do to your sorry ATL Hawks

mountain_jim

March 30th, 2010
11:05 am

Add another to the chorus here that says Sund blew it by giving Marvin money that could have locked up Chills long term. Marvin does nothing 9 out 10 games, has no motivation, no drive, no off-the-ball IQ and skills that Chills has in spades.

lakers are in town

March 30th, 2010
11:16 am

Lets go lakers Atl fans are u scared to reply

mountain_jim

March 30th, 2010
11:17 am

I suspect Chills would not play for Atlanta as long as Woody is the coach – as a cerebral player he knows how bad a strategist Woody is.

wxwax

March 30th, 2010
11:31 am

“Grecian earner.”

Ha!

The Hawks don’t need Childress anymore. Although not a sixth man, Marvin Williams essentially plays his do-everything role. I don’t see him as a sub for Joe Johnson either. Hawks would need a real scorer if Johnson bolts.

I wonder how Olympiacos (sometimes spelled Olympiakos) feels about dropping 20 million and getting such a small return?

wxwax

March 30th, 2010
11:32 am

Still Woody bashing?

Really?

Westurd

March 30th, 2010
11:41 am

Snoring………I say bring Chills back so he can tie up Marvin and throw his ass on a plane so they can both go back to Greece together……

Westurd

March 30th, 2010
11:43 am

lakers are in town-
Yeah, yo mama is Kobe Bryant…….talk about that! BURN!

Ted M

March 30th, 2010
11:44 am

Mark,

I assume my ranking of 478 in your bracket is not my national ranking. How can I find out what my national ranking is?

Thanks

thadd

March 30th, 2010
11:56 am

hey mark i told you duke could win a title!

Joe

March 30th, 2010
11:57 am

If he returns to Atlanta hopefully he has put on some weight cause he was skinny with the hawks. I wonder does he still shoots like Shawn Marion.

NRBQ

March 30th, 2010
12:06 pm

#9 in that photo would like to buy a couple vowels…

SWAT Native

March 30th, 2010
12:17 pm

Lakers are in Town,

When’s the last time the Lakers won in Philips? Was Magic still playing?

Benjamin

March 30th, 2010
12:22 pm

J-Chill was my favorite player when he was here. Would like to see him back in uniform with us next year…

Milburn Drysdale

March 30th, 2010
12:28 pm

Lakers are in town. whoop-tee-ddoooo. Very average team on the road apparently.

O'Brien

March 30th, 2010
12:38 pm

One problem for Chills is that he has ro make his mind up by July 15th if he will opt out of his contract. By that time, i dont think JJ will have signed yet, so Rick Sund will not know what his options are, how much money he has left over etc.

I think Chills will play in Greece again, partly because he thinks the longer he stays away, the more likely ATL will be to trade him away. But I think Rick Sund is content to play the waiting game.

As for the coach, I dont think Chills had any problems with Woody. Woody always give him his minutes, he would even bring up the ball up on numerous occassions, and Woody would have him in at the end of games.

I would like to see the Hawks either do a sign and trade, or bring him back. He is an asset that we are not using. Use him, or get something back for him. And its not like Marvin is stepping up anyways.

Gwinnett Fred

March 30th, 2010
12:39 pm

Bryan G, RambleOn 84 & James Adams:

Obviously they play ball like the old ABA. This is just a remake of the scene from “Semi Pro” where if they score over a certain amount of points, the crowd gets free corn dogs and it was #9’s time to pay if it happens!

Denver Hawk

March 30th, 2010
12:42 pm

a “Grecian earner”? well done, my son.

Matt the Brave

March 30th, 2010
12:54 pm

I know it’s probably coincidence, but it seems like the Hawks are doing just fine without J-Chill. And while I know the Euro league is a good one, I would figure that someone who was supposed to be this great player is still averaging about HALF of what J.J. does for us. He’s an immature player and immature person.

j

March 30th, 2010
1:13 pm

lakers are in town, let’s talk about what the sorry atl hawks did to your la lakers last time they were here … oh, i said it B&^ch

ANTHONY

March 30th, 2010
1:54 pm

J-Chill never impressed me. I can’t believe we wasted the sixth pick in the draft for him. He seems like an average player nothing special. We really haven’t noticed that he’s been gone.

Peter

March 30th, 2010
1:54 pm

Do we really care about Josh C ?

He obviously has not improved his game, if he is only scoring these point totals in big games.

But hey I would get rid of Marvin, and take someone else with toughness in his place !

Someone willing to lift weights, and be STRONG……not a guy who gets pushed around by the likes of Rip Hamilton.

Kem

March 30th, 2010
1:58 pm

Got kind of quiet Lakers (Fakers)in Town!! N.O. just bust their behinds last night.

Seattle Hawks Fan

March 30th, 2010
2:06 pm

I hope we have a better plan than Josh Childress if JJ leaves….. If the plan was Wade,Bosh, or Amare maybe I could get on board…. but we better resign JJ

Seattle Hawks Fan

March 30th, 2010
2:08 pm

If we resign JJ and sign Childress to help shut down games after midway through the 3rd quarter then I think that would help…

Nick Papagorgio

March 30th, 2010
2:08 pm

Still has that silly looking fro, you’d think by now he’d wise up and get a haircut after eating all those gyro’s in Greece.