The Wave Of The Future??

By Gregory Moore
Updated: July 28, 2008

SAN ANTONIO — Who would have thought that an American basketball player would shun the NBA.

Who would have thought that a program like the University of Arizona would be in the same boat?

Yet the summer of 2008 has definitely seen college and professional basketball take a couple of hits that nobody ever thought would be possible.

“Basketball without Borders” has made the Federation of International Basketball Association so lucrative that teams like Macab Tel Aviv, Olympatikos and others are able to offer American ball players great sums of money to play in Europe.

Take that NCAA and NBA.

The moves that Childress and Jennings have made are lucrative ones for both of them. For Jennings the contract could be lucrative; that is if he only knew how much. Yet for the reason of him not being academically qualified to attend Zona, this was not a bad move.

Not that I would be advocating such a move to a bunch of high school athletes who think pro ball is a great way to make a living these days.

As I have always said, for every kid like a Brandon Jennings, you can find thousands of them probably now sipping forties on the corner or struggling just to hold on to the grocery sacker job at the IGA grocer.

In other words, athletic ability is now your guarantee to a better life but your mind is.

Yet there are going to be those rare exceptions to the rule and as with any rule those exceptions are going to be judged as to whether they made the right decision or not.

Jennings in an unproven commodity on the pro level so we’ll have to wait and see. Childress on the other hand is not and this is really interesting from his standpoint.

Unlike Jennings, Childress went to college and became a high draft pick. A restricted free agent, he spurned the Atlanta Hawks’ five year, $33 million deal for a lucrative three year, $32.5 million deal with Olympatikos.

Atlanta Journal Constitutions’ Sekeu Smith, the Hawks’ beat writer, broke the differences down quite well in one of his numerous stories.

Smith assessment came down to this: $6.7 million per year after taxes from the Greece deal versus $3.7 million from the Hawks deal.

Yeah I can see why Childress would take that deal. Plus the fact that the Greek team pays for his living expenses, transportation and lodging including a maid.

Yeah now that’s a sweet deal.

Oh and let’s not forget that there’s no buyout clause and that Childress has no penalty for opting out one or two years into the deal.

Sorry David Stern, but looks like the FIBA squad has used your example of making a struggling league great and played a better hand of poker than you did with your own players.

For Hawks’ fans this was a devastating move but for those NBA players looking to extend their careers or the really top college players who don’t get invited this October to training camps and make rosters, the Euro league may have the best option if you can get in.

Now maybe this is going to be a new trend but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. While FIBA is indeed a great league to watch, let’s be real about this scenario; there is nothing like playing for the National Basketball Association.

But what both Jennings and Childress have done is actually make the waters a little murky on either end of the lake.

For Brandon, he is showing a bunch of high schoolers that there may be a work around to the NBA’s one year removed from high school rule. That’s a bad precedent to follow. If you don’t believe me, think Maurice Clarett and I’m not talking about the legal issues either. Not every high school basketball player that can leap tall buildings are good enough to play against grown men over in Europe.

But don’t think what Josh did is a great thing either because this is truly a unique situation for him. Josh played for an ownership that can’t find itself out of a cheese maze that has no walls. They’re as clueless as the definition of the word gets and he made a business move that worked. For him that is what this is; a business.

And as different as these two situations may be, you have to admit, both of these scenarios have put the basketball on its collective ear and have awoken many who think there may be time for some revamping on some stances.

At least until a big name jumps ship, I don’t think we have anything to worry about.