Currency Exchange: "Great Equalizer" in Player Contracts?


Josh Childress is not a washed up NBA player. He’s a pretty good 25-year-old whose averaged 11 points per game in his four-year NBA career.

So the fact that he just agreed to a deal with Greek club Olympiakos is a real shocker. Not only was a team in Europe willing to pay Childress more for his services, but his deal -- reportedly worth $20 million after taxes – is worth more just by virtue of the weak dollar to the strong Euro.

For as long as we can remember, it’s been all about the NBA. Players from all over the world had a goal of playing in America in the grandest of leagues. And the influx certainly came.

But I’m starting to wonder if the state of the currency exchange could be the great equalizer in allowing European clubs to maintain their talent. And whether American players will be willing to jump for the better money in Europe.

Because not only did Childress leave. The Nets’ Bostjan Nachbar chose to sign a three-year deal with Dynamo Moscow for $14.3 million. Spurs draft picks Tiago Splitter and Goran Dragic delayed their arrivals in the NBA for deals in Europe. This all happening while the buzz surrounds NCAA/NBA dodger Brandon Jennings agreeing to a deal with Virtus Roma.

In June, NBA commissioner David Stern told’s John Hollinger that he didn’t think the currency conversion would one day significantly hurt the NBA’s ability to keep talent in America.

“If players actually stay in Europe because they can earn more, that's fine,” Stern said. “We think that European basketball, which we try to support, might be the better for it, and that's good."

I'm sure you're saying, "It's not a big deal, it's not Kobe, it's not LeBron." But in talking to my colleague Bob Windrem, who is a big Nets fan, I realized that the NBA is made up of Josh Childresses. And it's one thing for the Europeans to stay in Europe. It's another for Americans to go play over there.

Questions? Comments?