Atlanta Hawks restricted free-agent Mike Scott is reportedly mulling over a “lucrative” offer to leave the NBA and take his talents to Russia to play for CSKA-Moscow, according to Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
The news comes as a big surprise, although it leaves one to question the validity of Scott’s consideration on this so-called “lucrative” offer. He could just be attempting to whip up some interest from the Hawks, or another NBA team, in hopes of getting a new contract.
The third-year forward is currently only scheduled to make $1,115,243 in the upcoming 2014-15 season after Atlanta extended a qualifying offer to Scott before the free agency period began on July 1st, making him a restricted free-agent and granting the team the opportunity to match any offer sheet Scott may sign with another team.
In reality, Scott could be jealous of the new contract giving to teammate and fellow restricted free-agent Shelvin Mack, who agreed to terms with the Hawks on a three-year, $7.3 million deal on Friday, and could be using the “lucrative” offer from CSKA-Moscow to coax Atlanta into giving him a new, higher-paying contract before next season starts — like Mack.
Scott’s situation is similar to former Hawks swingman Josh Childress’ predicament in 2008, when Childress left the NBA because he was irritated with not being able to get the money he thought he deserved and opted to go overseas to play professionally in Greece for more money. At that time, Childress was a restricted free-agent, like Scott, and turned down a five-year deal from Atlanta worth “nearly $36 million, with a first-year salary in excess of the midlevel exception of $5.6 million,” and instead agreed to a three-year deal worth about $20 million (after taxes) with Greek basketball club Olympiacos Piraeus.
If Scott follows in Childress’ footsteps and go overseas, the Hawks would still maintain his rights as long as they pledge a qualifying offer every offseason.
While on the surface it seems unlikely that Scott would leave the NBA and go overseas to play against inferior competition, there have been a couple of signs that would play into the conspiracy theory.
Scott sent out some cryptic messages on Instagram two days ago, removing his Atlanta Hawks #32 bio and also posting the famous Bart Simpson cake photo with the words “at least you tried,” on it (h/t Jay Desai), which could be an indirect reference to the Hawks “low-balling” Scott by only giving him a qualifying offer rather than a new contract.
Are Mike Scott’s days in Atlanta over?
Stay tuned to Soaring Down South for updates as this story develops.