By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer
According to ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Philadelphia 76ers have offered Ben Simmons a five-year maximum contract extension. Under new salary cap projections, the max contract offer is worth $170 million over those five years, according to Wojnarowski. The Sixers and Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, are reportedly working through the details of the contract, and an agreement now seems inevitable.
Under new salary cap projections, Ben Simmons' maximum contract total has crept slightly higher: $170M. https://t.co/44s3FLz1rf— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2019
At 22 years old, Simmons is entering his fourth season in the NBA since being drafted first overall by the 76ers in the 2016 NBA Draft. After missing all of the 2016-2017 season due to a foot injury, Simmons has since found stardom in the NBA. The LSU product won rookie of the year honors after the 2017-2018 season, when he averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He followed up his rookie season by becoming an All Star for the first time. Last season, Simmons averaged career highs in points per game (16.9) as well as rebounds per game (8.8).
The Sixers are offering this contract extension to Simmons with the hope that he continues to excel at attacking the basket and facilitating the ball to his teammates. However, the Sixers, as well as their fans, are also hoping to see some growth from Simmons this season. The issue that has held Simmons back since he entered the league has been glaring and at times frustrating: he refuses to shoot.
Most 76ers fans aren't as much frustrated about the fact that Simmons is horrible at shooting, but the fact that he has an outright refusal to even attempt a shot outside the paint. For Simmons to be worth the money that general manager Elton Brand and the 76ers are offering him, then he is going to have to, at the very least, attempt more shots outside the paint. Just by doing this, Simmons will open up so many other opportunities for his game that he already excels at, such as attacking the basket and creating open shots for his teammates. Just look at what adding a jump shot has done for his teammate, Joel Embiid, and this year's NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.