Childress Will Screw Atlanta Next Summer, Too
This is a boon to Atlanta, right? Maybe not. Carrying the rights to a restricted free agent comes with a burden: the associated cap hold. The cap hold is a mechanism of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement which prevents a team from subverting the salary cap by signing outside free agents before re-signing their own. It's pretty complicated, and Larry Coon explains it with more clarity than you'll ever find under my byline. If you need the details, read them there.
Here's what matters for Atlanta: Childress carries a cap hold of $14.5 million. Assuming the Hawks can manage to retain Josh Smith for about $10 million a year, Atlanta figures to be about $20 million under the salary cap next summer. (Mike Bibby and Zaza Pachulia are coming off the books.) That can buy a mighty fine free agent. But unless Atlanta renounces its rights to Childress -- meaning Chills would no longer be a restricted free agent, he could sign with any NBA team and the Hawks wouldn't have matching rights -- $14.5 million of that cap space will be locked up in that cap hold. That means Atlanta would have only roughly $5.5 million of space, and that's less than the mid-level exception. The Hawks would then have no cap space, and would be in the same boat as 85% of the NBA.
If the Hawks had overpaid Childress with, say, an $8 million annual contract, they would be able to go get a $12 million player in free agency next year ... and they'd have Childress's production! Instead, nothing and nothing. Good work, Sund.