LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and Australian star Ben Simmons have agreed to a five-year, $170 million maximum contract extension, US media reported Monday.
ESPN said Simmons’ agent Rich Paul had confirmed the deal, although the parties had until mid-October to finalize the extension of Simmons’ rookie contract.
Simmons, 22, was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016 and after injury saw him miss the 2016-17 season he was named Rookie of the Year in 2017-18.
He averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the 76ers last season, when he was named an All-Star for the first time. In the past two seasons he has had 22 triple-doubles and 80 double-doubles, emerging as a dominant finisher at the rim.
He joined Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players with at least 10 triple-doubles – posting double figures in three key statistical categories – in each of their first two seasons.
The deal confirms a 76ers core that also includes Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford – all under contract for at least the next four years as the team seek their first NBA title since 1983.
Last season the Sixers were knocked out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals for the second straight season.
The extension will come into effect in the 2020-21 season after the final year of his rookie deal.
CAVS WAIVE SMITH
Meantime, the Cleveland Cavaliers waived JR Smith on Monday, gaining salary cap space after failing to trade the NBA veteran.
The Cavs released Smith before his $15.6 million contract for next season became guaranteed, bringing down the curtain on his tenure in Cleveland.
Smith, 33, played just 11 games for the Cavaliers last season. The player and club agreed that he would step away after he voiced his discontent after a November defeat that dropped the Cavaliers to 2-13.