Hawks Showing No Love For Childress
Childress is planning this fall for a second season in Greece with Olympiakos, but it wasn't decided until earlier this week when the Hawks scuttled a possible sign-and-trade deal with Milwaukee that Childress had been pushing.
"Things were close, very close. Milwaukee would have been a great situation,'' Childress said Friday evening from Los Angeles during a conference call with reporters. "Coach (Scott) Skiles made it clear that he really wanted me to be part of his team. The whole coaching staff and managements really let me know I was wanted. They saw me as a big part of their future.''
Although Childress liked what he heard during his visit earlier this month in Milwaukee, his restricted free agency still gave all the leverage to the Hawks. Without enough room under the salary cap to match his contract in Greece, the Bucks needed to do it with a sign-and-trade deal that included either Bruce Bowen or Kurt Thomas.
Charlotte also pushed hard for a deal with Childress, but they were only offering Raja Bell in return to Atlanta.
Childress left the Hawks after the 2007-08 season -- the team's best season in a decade -- and signed a three-year, $20 million (net) contract with Olympiakos. The contract included an opt-out clause at the end of each season that would allow him to return to the NBA. The opt-out deadline passed on Wednesday.
Childress said that five NBA teams showed serious interest in him earlier this summer, but no deal with the Hawks could be reached. He blamed the Hawks for their unwillingness to negotiate.
"My feeling is that if they wanted to get something done, we were more than willing,'' he said. "This idea of (playing) hardball is getting kind of old. I don't like playing that game.''
Childress, the sixth pick in the 2004 draft, played four seasons in Atlanta, averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds. He missed a major portion of his season in Greece because of a sports hernia. He still helped his team to a spot in the Euroleague Final Four and a spot in the Greek League championship series.
Even without him, the Hawks are a team on the rise, winning a first round playoff series this spring for the first time in 12 years. They lost to the Cavaliers in the conference semi-final.
"I'm not saying something won't happen (with the Hawks) in the future,'' he said. "But I want to get something done, and be done with it.''