Monday, July 21, 2008

Where Euro Defections Happen

While Brandon Jennings has gotten most of the attention surrounding his move to Europe this summer (especially on this blog) there's another really interesting story that is emerging out of Atlanta. Josh Childress, former Stanford star, and current average-to-good Hawks forward is seriously considering signing with Olympiakos in Greece. Well known for their soccer prowess, Olympiakos' basketball side is offering Childress a three year twenty million dollar deal. This of course is far more than he could expect to make in the NBA based on his performance to date.

The deal would make sense on both sides as Olympiakos would only actually owe Childress about 12.6 million Euros as the exchange rate currently sits at $1.59 : €1. The possibility exists now for NBA players who are either upset with their contract negotiations or simply past their prime earning years but still want to play at a high level, to opt for European sides and make quite a bit of money. Outside of the world of the NBA salary, a player could earn a good deal of money first in dollars, and eventually, if he stayed on the Continent long enough, could begin to actually earn his pay in Euros.

Former Piston Carlos Delfino also recently signed with Russian side BC Khimki. The argument isn't exactly the same there as rubbles are not a good currency to earn (hopefully he's earning dollars from them) but the idea is the same. Why flounder about in the D-League or fight for 10-day contracts when you could earn millions of dollars playing in Europe?

Who knows if this will become a fad or if it will die down whenever the economy starts to bounce back, but it does make things quite interesting for the league. David Stern has spent two decades trying to expand the NBA across the world and make it as visible as possible. Now, as globalization has taken root across the world, inferior leagues are starting to realize they can increase their exposure by importing an NBA player. This operates much in the same way as MLS does. I'm not sure David Beckham equals Josh Childress, but the goals are much the same.


trey said...

here's the question. david stern is an authoritarian of note. my worry is that he gets worried about players heading to europe, true they aren't great players but still.

and so to counter act this trend i worry that he becomes even more of an authoritarian. i worry that he kicks the ncaa around even more than he already does to keep young players in the states.

Michael Orr said...

Yeah, wouldn't surprise me to see the NBA try to make a rule that requires American-born players spend time in college first, barring foreign opportunities. That would be terrible, it's already bad enough that they have a draft - just think about that in military terms - and then have age requirements (and dress requirements!).