The Philadelphia 76ers are working on an agreement with Ben Simmons for a five-year, $170 million contract extension, according to ESPN senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
UPDATED ON MONDAY JULY 15: According to the Athletic's Shams Charania, Simmons has agreed to the five-year, $170 million contract that was originally reported back in July by Adrian Wojnarowski.
Sixers fans across the nation had mixed reactions to this afternoon's news, with many saying that $170 million is too much money for a player who has such a gigantic limitation in his game (lack of an outside shot). I agree, to an extent, that it is a risky move for the 76ers to give all that money to someone who has not yet shown the desire to take a shot outside of 15 feet. However, Simmons excels at so many other things on the court that the 76ers have to keep him, whatever the risk.
Simmons can get a triple-double on any given night and is an excellent passer. He is averaging just under eight assists per game in his career. He is a gifted passer, and when combined with his floor vision can cause chaos for the opposing defense.
On the defensive end of the floor, Simmons also excels and has quickly made a big impact for the 76ers. He averaged 0.8 blocks and 1.4 steals per game last season. His size (6-foot-10) and length as a point guard allow him a big advantage on both ends of the floor, but specifically on the defensive end it allows him to have the versatility to guard any position on the court.
Let's get back to the offensive end, where Simmons has the abilities to average 16.9 points per game last season while not having any shred of an outside shot. Just imagine what he can become if he starts taking even a 15-footer. It will improve not only his offensive game, but the whole team will greatly benefit from the added floor spacing coming from the guy who has the ball in his hands on almost every possession.
The 76ers need to keep Simmons because of what he can become and how much it could hurt them if they traded him and he develops into his full potential. With all of the things that he can do on the court, it would be near impossible to replace him with a player of similar skill level.
While it is a risk that the 76ers are willing to give Simmons $170 million, I find it to be a necessary one because Simmons, at his age (22) and with his current transcendent skills, possesses the potential to be one of the best players of this generation.