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Childress leaves Hawks for Greece

July 24, 2008|Steve Springer | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Josh Childress is leaving the Atlanta Hawks for Greek club Olympiakos, reversing the course of the many international stars who have signed with the NBA.

Heading overseas allows Childress to make more money than he could have as a restricted free agent in the United States. The Hawks had the right to match an offer from another NBA team but not from an international club.

Agent Jim Tanner said Wednesday the three-year deal was worth about $20 million after taxes. The money is guaranteed, and Childress can opt out of the contract after each year.

"I've talked to a few guys, and it could become a trend," Childress said about other Americans following his lead. "It's different. We thought out of the box a little on this one."

The 6-foot-8, 210-pound guard/forward averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds as the Hawks' top reserve last season. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in four years with Atlanta after being drafted sixth overall in 2004 out of Stanford.

Childress said he intended to re-sign with the Hawks, who made the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and pushed eventual champion Boston to seven games in the first round. But he felt the team didn't show a sense of urgency in making a deal, and he turned down an offer he considered too low.

Atlanta General Manager Rick Sund said that while he believed the Hawks made a proposal that was competitive within the NBA, it would have been fiscally irresponsible to try to match Olympiakos. Sund said the offer exceeded the salary cap's mid-level exception, which is more than $5.5 million, and would've have made Childress the team's fourth-highest paid player.

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An old face joined the new faces as the Clippers continue to restructure their roster. Guard Jason Hart, who spent part of the 2006-07 season with the team, is a Clipper again, coming over from the Utah Jazz in a trade for guard Brevin Knight.

Hart, an L.A. native who attended Inglewood High, appeared in 23 games for the Clippers in 2006-07, averaging 9.0 points and 4.0 assists. He shot 43.8% from the field. Those numbers are better than the seven-year veteran's career numbers: 5.2 points, 2.4 assists and a 42.3% shooting percentage.

Knight, an 11-year veteran, spent one season with the Clippers, appearing in 74 games and averaging 4.6 points and 4.4 assists.

-- Steve Springer

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