Simmons puts hand up for Boomers
Ben Simmons has announced he will be a Boomer this summer, making his debut for Australia ahead of the 2019 Basketball World Cup.
Simmons was the last Aussie NBA star yet to declare his availability for the World Cup in China, prompting widespread speculation he would elect not to play in the same off-season he is expected to begin negotiating his potential five-year, $223 million max contract extension.
Still licking his wounds from Philadelphia's heart-breaking buzzer-beater loss to the Raptors this week, Simmons gave his Aussie fans some very welcome news when he took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce his plans for this off-season.
"Hey guys, tough way to finish the season," Simmons said in the video.
"I just wanted to let everybody know that we appreciate the support through the year. The home crowd was amazing, electric all season long. I'm really looking forward to getting back in the lab and putting the work in and getting ready for next season, so I'm looking forward to that.
"I'd also like to announce that I am going to be a Boomer for the upcoming events, so stay tuned."
Simmons coupled his Twitter video with a post on his Weibo account, informing his Chinese fans that he will be playing at the 2019 FIBA showpiece event, beginning August 31.
"Ni Hao China! Thanks for all the support this season, it was a tough way to go out," Simmons wrote.
"I'm happy to say I'm looking forward to representing my country Australia in the upcoming @FIBA World Cup in China."
Simmons' announcement leaves Australia with a star-studded line-up for the China event after stars Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Aron Baynes and Joe Ingles all committed to play the tournament.
Simmons announcement is also expected to see him suit up for the Boomers in the highly anticipated World Cup warm up matches against the United States at Marvel Stadium on August 22 and August 24 just one week out from the start of the World Cup.
Simmons is now expected to make his Boomers debut against Canada during a two-game series in Perth, beginning August 16.
Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley earlier told The Daily Telegraph he had a good feeling Simmons would choose to play for Australia.
"My personal hunch is that he (Ben) wants to play," Longley said.
"But it's still unclear. The young man has a lot of moving parts he is learning to manage."
Meanwhile, Simmons teammate Joel Embiid has made a public call for he and Simmons to stick together as their franchise enters a summer of uncertainty.
While coach Brett Brows has been assured his position is safe, stars Jimmy Butler, JJ Redick and Tobias Harris are all free agents this off-season.
"We have a lot to work on - me (and) him)," Embiid said of Simmons.
"I'm excited about all the work I'm going to put in this summer and he should be too. He has a lot of potential. He can do so much more and be right there. I'm going to support him through everything. That's my brother."