SBD/Issue 20/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Olympiacos Ownership Duo Entices Former NBAer Josh Childress

Olympiacos Owners Look To Attract More
NBAers, Like Childress (c), In Future
Josh Childress' three-year, $20M contract with Greek basketball team Olympiacos makes him the "highest-paid basketball player in the world outside of the NBA," and with the club paying a large amount of his expenses, Childress estimated he will "take home about $6[M] this season, about twice as much as he would have had he played in the NBA," according to Pete Thamel of the N.Y. TIMES. Childress: "I get paid double, my role increases, I have no expenses and I move to a nice city? How many guys wouldn't do that, regardless if you're a lawyer or a doctor?" Thamel wrote the "chances of mass defections or an elite NBA player heading to Europe appear unlikely in the near future." But the players who "appear most ripe for the taking are solid NBA players like Childress who believe they are worth more than the midlevel exception of $5.6[M], which Childress likely would have made this season if he had stayed with the Hawks." It is "unknown whether Childress will be an anomaly or a trailblazer, but Olympiacos's aggressive ownership has offered hefty contracts to NBA players like Chris Webber, James Posey and Michael Finley in the past two years." NBA Commissioner David Stern: "The one thing we knew even before Thomas Friedman told us is that the basketball world is flat. ... The reality is that basketball is getting to be a more popular sport, and there are more leagues that can afford to pay more players." Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh: "I just know all of a sudden there is that option that wasn't there before, and we're going to have to think about it" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12).

ONLY JUST THE START: Olympiacos Owners Panayiotis and George Angelopoulos said that they "have only just begun poaching players from the NBA." The TIMES' Thamel reported the Angelopoulos' are "billionaire brothers with the goal of making Olympiacos the best team in the world outside the NBA." Panayiotis Angelopoulos, "with a brash tone and hands-on manner, ... is the Euroleague's version of [Mavericks Owner] Mark Cuban." He said, "Next season I will open up a small office for free agents in New York, and I will take petitions." Thamel noted Childress' agent, Jim Tanner, "impressed Angelopoulos." Angelopoulos said of Tanner, "He came informed. He was not asking, 'Do you have enough money?' and other questions that make me angry." Angelopoulos said of other NBA players possibly playing in Europe in the future, "We'll see a day when a superstar player comes to Europe, but to Olympiacos, not to another team." He did not disclose the maximum amount he would pay a player, but said, "I have already made my investigation into the free-agent market for next year. Even if Josh decides to go back, we'll be ready" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12).

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