Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors - Game Five
Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors - Game Five

NRL star would have to play 186 years to equal Simmons

BEN Simmons has agreed to a $US170 million ($A242 million) contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers in the richest deal signed by an Australian athlete.

The deal runs for five years and won't kick in until the beginning of the 2020-21 season (Simmons will earn a mere $US8.1 million for the 2019-20 season) but it vaults Simmons to the very top of Australian sports rich list.

American sports dwarf their Australian counterparts in terms of salaries but the magnitude of Simmons' deal goes above and beyond.

Daly Cherry-Evans has been the NRL's top earner since he signed his historic eight-year deal in 2015 that nets the Manly halfback $1.3 million a season - he'd have to play for 186 years to equal Simmons. Jason Taumalolo turned plenty of heads when he signed his 10-year, $10 million deal in 2017 but the Tongan colossus is similarly dwarfed.

The annual NRL salary cap of $9.1 million is a little under four per cent of what Simmons will earn over the lifetime of the deal. The 22-year old could bankroll the wage for every player in the league for over a year.

Simmons will earn $US29.25 million in the first season of the deal with incremental increases until 2025-26, when it tops out at $US38.61 million.

The Simmons bonanza also dwarfs anything Australia's other NBA players have raked in. Andrew Bogut - the country's other number one overall pick - has earned $US118 million in his entire, 15 season career. Spurs guard Patty Mills has accumulated $US48 million since he was drafted in 2009-10.

Cherry-Evans is dwarfed by the deal. AAP Image/Dean Lewins.
Cherry-Evans is dwarfed by the deal. AAP Image/Dean Lewins.

The Athletic, citing Simmons' agent Rich Paul, was the first to report on Monday he had accepted the offer.

It was Paul who shocked Australian sports fans on the weekend when he told ESPN that Simmons was "doubtful" to play for Australia at the World Cup in August- September.

His absence would be a major blow to the Boomers' hopes of claiming a medal in China in September and to huge crowds of Australian fans planning to watch him play exhibition games with the Boomers.

But the reports come as a surprise to Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis. "The reality of the professional basketball environment is that being available to play for the national team is fluid for all our players," Lemanis said. "There are many elements under consideration here.

"This is not new to us and we will continue our dialogue with Ben, and his agent Rich Paul, and see how it plays out.

"There is a genuine desire from Ben to play and we hope that circumstances unfold favourably to allow him to do so."

Simmons' agent Paul has told ESPN the All-Star guard was more likely to skip Australian duties to prioritise preparing for the coming NBA season.

In May, Simmons said on social media he would "be a Boomer for the upcoming events, so stay tuned".

Simmons had been expected to play for the Boomers in Perth against Canada on August 16 and 17, and then feature in two exhibition games against the United States in Melbourne on August 22 and 24.

The World Cup in China starts on August 31.



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