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All-Star point guard Ben Simmons has officially agreed to a maximum contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft became eligible for the five-year, $170 million contract extension this summer.
The Sixers offered Simmons his max extension once free agency opened, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and the two sides were expected to finalize the details and reach an agreement well before the mid-October deadline. And they did.
The 6-foot-10 Australian has averaged unprecedented numbers through his first two years — 16.4 points (55.4 field goal percentage), 8.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game — and made his first All-Star appearance this past February. The Sixers have reached the Eastern Conference semifinals in each of his first two seasons.
Once projected as a potential paradigm-shifting playmaker along the lines of LeBron James and Magic Johnson, Simmons’ inability to pose a shooting threat has raised concerns about his ceiling as a game-changing force in the playoffs, when defenses feast on weaknesses. Simmons is 0-for-17 from 3-point range in his career, all but one of which have come on last-second heaves. He is also shooting 27.8 percent on more than 300 field-goal attempts beyond 10 feet in his career.
Still, no player has come so close to averaging a triple-double at such a young age. Few players possess his innate passing ability, and Simmons attacks the rim with a rare combination of size, strength and athleticism — all of which also makes him a versatile defensive weapon. If Giannis Antetokounmpo did not exist, Simmons might represent the prototype for a new generation of freakishly talented big men.
If he ever does develop his shooting stroke (or switch hands), Simmons will exceed the value of his max extension. As he stands now, he is still worth the investment.
The Sixers have now committed nine-figure contracts to keep the core of Simmons, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford through at least the 2022-23 season, when Embiid and Horford can next become free agents. That quartet will make a combined $128.5 million in 2022-23, well above the league’s salary cap projections.
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