Esteemed colleague Michael Cunningham reports that the Hawks are close to a sign-and-trade with Phoenix for Josh Childress, who last played for the Hawks in Game 7 against Boston in May 2008. That the Hawks aren’t terribly interested in having the Grecian earner rejoin them should come as no shock.
Back to 2008: Billy Knight, who drafted Childress with the No. 6 pick in June 2004, resigned as general manager after the Boston series. He was replaced by Rick Sund, who knew Childress as a Hawk only from what he’d seen on TV/film, and what Sund saw wasn’t necessarily what we Atlantans had seen.
A lot of us around here believed Childress was a substitute of the first rank — the kind of high-octane reserve every good team needs. (Childress had been stellar against the Celtics, you’ll recall.) Sund saw a guy who couldn’t shoot. He wanted to keep Childress, but not at any price. Thus did a rising NBA team’s sixth man wind up with Olympiakos.
Put simply, Childress saw himself as more important to the Hawks than the new GM did. (So did I, though I give Sund credit for finding Flip Murray and Mo Evans that summer to help offset the loss.) Given that Sund’s still here, the chances of Childress returning to the Hawks have never been good. They’ve regarded him as a bargaining piece if they’ve regarded him at all, and the preliminary details of the sign-and-trade would seem to bear that out.
The Hawks wouldn’t be getting a player in return. They’d be getting, Cunningham reports, a second-round draft choice and a trade exception, which is a salary-cap credit for a future transaction. Which would mean that they got nothing when Childress left for Greece and they wouldn’t be receiving a flesh-and-blood player upon his return. To which I say:
What a waste.