As NBA free agency gets underway, the Philadelphia 76ers reportedly have their eyes set on their long-term future just as much as filling out their 2019-20 roster.
On Sunday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the organization has begun discussions with agent Rich Paul on a contract extension for All-Star guard Ben Simmons. As FOX Sports notes, Simmons will enter his fourth year in the NBA; therefore, he is eligible to sign a rookie scale extension that would begin starting the 2020-21 season.
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The NBA set the projected 2020-21 cap at $117 million on Saturday. The maximum mark Simmons could agree to with the Sixers would be a five-year extension worth 25 percent of his team’s salary cap (starting at $29.25 million, with an 8 percent raise each subsequent season, totaling $169.55 million).
- 2020-21: $29,250,000
- 2021-22: $31,590,000
- 2022-23: $33,930,000
- 2023-24: $36,270,000
- 2024-25: $38,610,000
- Total: $169,550,000
Simmons could earn up to as much as $203.58 million if he qualifies for the Rose Rule — if next season he wins the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year awards, or is named to an All-NBA team.
As FOX Sports notes, Simmons is expected to have his contract "sorted early on in the free agency period," as he has his focus playing for the Australian Boomers in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
If Simmons signs the maximum contract extension on the rookie scale, it would be the largest deal ever signed by an Australian athlete.
This past season, Simmons nearly averaged a triple-double — with 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game; he shot 56.3 percent from the field.