With the success of players like Josh Childress, many mid level NBA players are considering shipping their talents overseas for a pretty pay check. Viewed as somewhat of a new frontier, many European teams and leagues aren't subjected to the Salary Cap that limits the paychecks of NBA players. Josh Childress opted top play in Greece for $20 Million over 3 years, with opt out clauses after each season. No team in the NBA would offer the choice to opt out of their contract out of every year.
Why should players consider this move? Just take a look at some of the former American Collegieate players who make a living playing hoops in Europe, on name that jumps out is Lynn Greer, former Temple Guard and the school's All Time Leading Scorer. Greer went undrafted in the NBA and had a limited stint with the Bucks for near leauge minimum. Today, Greer is a reserve for the Olympacios, the same team as Childress, making nearly $3 Million USD (2.2 Million Euros) in each year of his 2 year contract.
Perhaps the most important reason players are shipping overseas are the lucrative endorsement deals available. Unlike America, where there is only one dominant league, with most big endorsement deals going to the Top 10% of the players (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, etc.) there are hundreds of countries, many with their own league, in Europe that offer thousands of endorsement deals that would be unavailable to most players in the NBA.
Not every story coming from Europe is a success story, as former top NCAA recruit Brandon Jennings chose to play in Rome, forgoing his college career, for a $2 Million contract last summer. He has since complained about communication problems, coaching philosophies, and the lack of attention and playing time he receives.
While the NBA is still the top league in terms of Superstar pay, Europe is quickly becoming a more viable option for role players and the 7th-8th men off the bench. Who knows, maybe one day Kobe Bryant will take up the Olympiakos offer of $83 Million untaxed dollars sometime in the future.