No NBA, No Problem

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: July 19, 2009

ATLANTA — Josh Childress said Friday the Atlanta Hawks’ “hardball” negotiations forced him to return for a second season in Greece with Olympiakos.

Childress signed a three-year, $20 million deal with Olympiakos last year after scoring in double figures in each of his four seasons with the Hawks.

The Hawks retained rights to Childress, who as a restricted free agent could negotiate with other NBA teams. Meanwhile, Childress also faced a Wednesday deadline to commit to his return to Greece.

Childress and his agent, Jim Tanner, said in a telephone interview on Friday that they visited Milwaukee and had interest from other teams. They said those teams couldn’t reach an agreement with the Hawks.

“I knew I didn’t have a ton of time and honestly didn’t want a ton of time,” Childress said, referring to this week’s deadline with Olympiakos. “If (the Hawks) wanted to get something done it would get done early.”

The Hawks will again retain the NBA rights to Childress after next season. Childress said “it’s not out of the question at all” for him to return to Atlanta.

“I just think there needs to be some kind of agreement where both parties meet in the middle,” he said. “This idea of hardball is kind of old. I’m not the type of guy that’s gonna bad mouth and do all the other things. I’ve kind of been the kind of guy who wants to move forward and get something done.”

Hawks coach Mike Woodson said on Monday he would welcome the return of Childress.

“I’d accept him with open arms, without a doubt,” Woodson said.

Childress said he was open to a return to Atlanta.

“The Hawks were definitely in my scope,” he said. “I spent four years there.

I’m familiar with the team and the organization. I’m familiar with the city. I still have a home there. I think it just came down to whether or not I felt like negotiations would move forward with them. I really didn’t, just being quite honest.”

Tanner said his hope was to find Childress a home with another NBA team.

“I would say with a couple of teams in particular we went pretty far down the road, in both cases talking about sign-and-trade transactions,” Tanner said.

“We did have a visit to Milwaukee. We had extensive conversations with other teams.”

Tanner wouldn’t reveal details of any sign-and-trade offer to the Hawks.

Childress averaged 13.3 points and 3.6 rebounds for Olympiakos.

Childress, from Stanford, was the No. 6 overall pick by Atlanta in the 2004 NBA draft. He started in a career-high 44 games as a rookie and averaged 10.1 points.

He averaged a career-high 13.0 points in the 2006-07 season. He played in 76 games, all in a reserve role, while averaging 11.8 points in the 2007-08 season.