Monday, July 21, 2008

Josh Childress---Greece is Not the Word

OK---Now that the Red (Hawks) Storm has died down a little today and the other side of the story has started to trickle out, we can see a little clearer now than the through the fury that engulfed the tiny but proud Nation of Hawk earlier today when the news of Childress heading over to Greece started to emerge.

Now, as we discussed earlier, and earlier, and really every offseason when free agents are concerned, information that emerges during this money making period is 1 part truth, 1 million parts self-serving---and often is just a ploy to move either the player's or the team's marker closer to their respective goals.

Restricted free agency heightens the hysteria a bit in that the team that holds rights holds all the leverage and likes to wait for the market to determine value so that the team doesn't end up bidding against itself (Helloooo Allan Houston and the Knicks), no matter what ultimate value they place on the player.

Players want to see the money and the love (and that means money, too) as soon as possible, so waiting for other players to sign or teams to make offers to them to determine their market value doesn't really work for them.

Therefore, teams and players set against each other in this financial chess match, where the club tries to dissuade suitors for their RFA's talents and plays the waiting game, while the players and their representation does everything in it's power to overcome the leverage the team has against them.

So HUGE ups to Lon Babby and Jim Tanner for completely flipping the Hawks (and believe me, the NBA) by taking a thousand dollar trip to Greece to talk to the rich Olympiakos franchise and this raise the stakes with the Hawks.

Anyone think I'll see Josh Smith and the Restricted Free Agent All-Stars at Hartsfield-Jackson tomorrow?

This is a stroke of bargaining genius. Oh, don't think we have leverage? Well, we won't even play in the NBA next year and STILL make the dollars.

It sure threw the fans for a loop---leading some to wail so loud I heard 'em in Orlando, I am sure.

I think the Hawks have to show some hand now. In fact, it comes as no surprise that GM Rick Sund opened the kimono for Sekou Smith tonight, allowing that the Hawks have indeed negotiated "every day since free agency started" and someone else fed Sekou that the opening offer was over the MLE and could include bonuses.

Now, see there Hawks fans, is it all better?

Nope--guess again.

You really can't believe the team's rap either, but it is nice to see some propaganda from the other side, isn't it?

No, the proof will be when both sides are putting out vibes that indicate that fences are being mended and all is well (read: money getting closer) between both parties.

These sides know what they are doing, despite the venom that oozed all over the place throughout the day, with some fans wondering if the Hawks brass even knew what city the Hawks play in. It is awfully unnerving to see two key pieces to the Hawks playoff run seemingly unhappy. And fans want to be assured that their guys will be in place---and as soon as possible.

Remember, it was SEPTEMBER 11, 2003 when Jason Terry finally found a team to make him an offer that was worth signing.

I am sure the players are frustrated---not many players like to have this kind of stuff out there---they want to leave the money and the drama to the guys they pay to handle the money and the drama and they want to be sure they are not underpaid, but mostly---they just want to play basketball.

It's this last point that's interesting about Childress---It doesn't really ring true that he would be willing to defer his NBA career--and his basketball goals---to go overseas when he can get comparable money in the NBA, even if he has to wait or get it elsewhere. Yup-he wants to play big minutes as we recall from last December's free agent conversation, but that's not something that happens a lot in Europe anyway.

Also, I can't believe he'll leave the league he has grown up watching and dreaming about to play with a closer 3-pt line and wider lanes. It doesn't fit.

But it doesn't mean it isn't a brilliant negotiation tactic. And it even had me doing the head scratching thing and starting to visualize a headline that would surely throw the NBA and it's system into a David Stern tizzy.

It definitely got the Hawks talking about the process, which indicates it's effectiveness. So maybe things will speed up, but I am not counting on it.

Now--How many tickets for Athens, Mr. Iguodala?

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