Sports

Ben backflips on Boomers but Aussie NBA star confirms Perth gig

The decision by Australia's new $242 million sporting superstar Ben Simmons to not play for the Boomers at the World Cup is Perth's gain, with the NBA talent confirming on Wednesday he'll return to Australia for pre-tournament exhibition games next month.

The day the Philadelphia 76ers signed Simmons to the richest deal in history by an Australian athlete – a five-year contract extension worth $US170 million – the 22-year-old confirmed he would forego the World Cup in China to work on his game before the next NBA season.

Ben Simmons (right) has confirmed he is playing an exhibition match in Perth for the Boomers next month.

Ben Simmons (right) has confirmed he is playing an exhibition match in Perth for the Boomers next month.Credit:The Canadian Press

Simmons did commit to the exhibition games, including the double showdown with Canada at RAC Arena in Perth on August 16-17, as well as the Boomers' 2020 Olympics campaign in Tokyo.

"I wanted to let everyone know that after consulting with my representation, I've made the difficult decision to forego playing in the World Cup in China this [US] summer," Simmons said.

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"I will still be heading back home to Australia to host my camps as well as train and play with the Boomers in the upcoming exhibition games.

I'm really excited about the talent we have on the Boomers squad, especially moving closer to 2020 where I will be honoured and humbled to represent my country on the world's biggest sporting stage at the Olympics in Tokyo.

It was a priority we finalise a contract extension with Ben this summer.

76ers general manager Elton Brand

"Ultimately, we decided it was best that I use the time in September to return to Philadelphia to acquaint myself with my new teammates and prepare for the upcoming NBA season.

"I appreciate Basketball Australia for their support and understanding. I look forward to working with my Boomers coaches and teammates over the next few weeks to start working towards our ultimate team goal of winning a medal at the Olympics."

The 76ers dubbed Simmons "one of the NBA's most dynamic and talented young players", with general manager Elton Brand saying his signature through to the 2024-25 NBA season was key to the team's pursuit of an NBA championship.

The 76ers are going all-in for the title next season with Simmons' new deal, coupled with contracts for All-Star big men Al Horford and Joel Embiid and forward Tobias Harris, totalling a combined $US580 million ($A827 million).

"It was a priority for our organisation that we finalise a contract extension with Ben this summer," Brand said.

"He was Rookie of the Year in his first season, an All-Star in his second and we expect him to grow and succeed for seasons to come.

"Ben positively impacts the game in so many ways and we look forward to continuing our championship pursuits with him as one of our leaders."

The contract does not give Simmons an option to leave the team in the fifth year, but if the 76ers trade him he will pocket a 15 per cent "trade kicker", according to ESPN.

Simmons will also receive a bonus if he makes an All-NBA team next season.

The 76ers are under pressure to win a championship in the coming 2019-2020 season after failing to advance out of the second round of the playoffs the past two years.

The young NBA star at the Ben Simmons Basketball Camp last year.

The young NBA star at the Ben Simmons Basketball Camp last year.Credit:Paul Jeffers

The path to a title may be open for the 76ers, with the Eastern Conference appearing weaker.

Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors past the 76ers on their way to this year's championship, left for the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference.

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