Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Joe Johnson isn’t the only free agent the Hawks have to deal with this summer.
Josh Childress is a restricted free agent and will also be a part of their summer plans, in one way or another, though he won’t have to mull over a $119 million offer like the one the Hawks made to Johnson Thursday.
After spending the last two seasons in Greece, it appears Childress is destined for a return to the NBA this season. The Washington Wizards have been rumored to be an interested party and Michael Lee of the Washington Post confirmed as much:
I can tell you that the Wizards’ interest in Childress in genuine. He was among the players the Wizards considered taking in 2004 before dealing the fifth pick to Dallas in a trade for Antawn Jamison. President Ernie Grunfeld was in Paris for the EuroLeague Final Four and watch Childress and former All-Met player Linas Kleiza lose to Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro of Barcelona in the championship game. Once source said the presence of Grunfeld led to speculation that simply spun out of control.
But if the Hawks keep Johnson, they likely wouldn’t have any money to match a contract offer for Childress. The Wizards are among about eight NBA teams to reach out to his agent, Chris Emens of Octagon Sports. Childress will have leverage in any situation since he lives rather comfortably in Athens and isn’t desperate for a return to NBA. He averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20 EuroLeague games last season. A Stanford alum, Childress has a reputation as a solid pro and would fall in line with the Wizards desire to add more character guys to the roster.
The Hawks could use Childress as much as anyone. They don’t have the sort of depth they’ve had in years past, when they had younger players that were still on rookie contracts or minimum deals.
But as Lee points out, the chances of them keeping Johnson and then matching an offer to Childress don’t look good.
And as high-profile free agents continue to stick with their current teams and leave more and more cash available for others, Childress will crash onto the radar of other teams in need of help at small forward.
His gamble to go to Greece was dismissed by many. But Childress will get the last laugh, potentially all the way to the bank.