Sixers star Ben Simmons withdraws from Australia’s exhibition games this summer
Philadelphia 76ers star point forward Ben Simmons, after withdrawing from Australia’s bid at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, will also not participate in his home country’s exhibition games this summer.
Simmons, 23, announced in a statement he thinks it’s better for the team’s chemistry for him not to play in the exhibition games since he’s not playing in the FIBA World Cup. He will instead focus on getting ready for the upcoming season for the Philly franchise (he signed a lucrative five-year extension with the club worth $170 million). However, he hopes to be with Australia during the high-profile 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Via The Associated Press:
”After talking with coach Andrej, we both agreed it was better for me to not participate in this year’s 2019 World Cup and exhibition games,” [Simmons] said.
”With our focus being to win a medal at the 2020 Olympics, the Boomers’ preparation in the lead up to the world championships is of the utmost importance and me not playing allows the team to create the chemistry they need to compete at the highest level and qualify for the Olympics.
”I want to thank Basketball Australia for their continued support and I’m committed and excited to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.”
Simmons averaged a career-best 16.9 points per game in his second year in the league with the Sixers last season, helping to lead Philly to its second consecutive postseason berth before eventually falling to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in seven games. Simmons made his Australian junior team debut in 2012 and was later cut from the 2014 senior team’s FIBA World Cup bid. He did not play for the Boomers in 2016 in Rio.