Simmons to skip World Cup, will play Australia-USA exhibition games

By Sports Desk July 16, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons will not play for Australia at this year's FIBA World Cup, though he will feature in exhibition games against the United States.

After initially making himself available for August's World Cup in China, Simmons announced on Tuesday that he will skip the tournament and instead focus on the upcoming NBA season with the 76ers.

While he is set to sit out the World Cup, Simmons will travel to Australia for a pair of games against Canada in Perth on August 16 and 17 before facing Team USA in Melbourne on August 22 and 24.

"I wanted to let everyone know that after consulting with my representation, I've made the difficult decision to forego playing in the World Cup in China this summer," Simmons – who has signed a new five-year contract with the 76ers – said in a statement via Twitter.

"I will still be heading back home to Australia to host my camps as well as train and play with the Boomers in the upcoming exhibition games.

"I'm really excited about the talent we have on the Boomers squad, especially moving close to 2020 where I will be honoured and humbled to represent my country on the world's biggest sporting stage at the Olympics in Tokyo.

"Ultimately, we decided it was best that I use the time in September to return to Philadelphia to acquaint myself with my new team-mates and prepare for the upcoming NBA season."

The 76ers selected Simmons with the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and he has played a large role in the team's resurgence as an oversized, do-it-all playmaker.

Philadelphia put together one of the most talented starting line-ups in basketball last season, featuring Simmons, Joel Embiid, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris as they finished third in the Eastern Conference before falling to the Toronto Raptors in the second round.

The 76ers lost Butler and Redick this offseason, but acquired Josh Richardson and Al Horford, giving them tremendous defensive potential.

Related items

  • Jazz sign coach Snyder to long-term extension Jazz sign coach Snyder to long-term extension

    The Utah Jazz have rewarded head coach Quin Snyder with a long-term contract extension, the NBA team announced on Sunday.

    Utah and Snyder agreed to terms on a new contract that will build on the two years he has remaining on his current deal after the 52-year-old's appointment in 2014.

    Snyder is in his sixth season with the Jazz and has helped Utah reach the playoffs in each of the last three years.

    "I've really enjoyed working with Quin and appreciate the collaboration and innovation he's brought to our franchise," said Jazz president Steve Starks. "He is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA and we are excited to solidify his leadership of the Jazz for years to come.

    "Quin has helped create and lead a special team culture on and off the court. His focus on our players' development and the day-to-day environment that he and his coaches have put in place is an excellent foundation."

    The Jazz have high hopes and showed that in their moves during the offseason.

    Utah quietly had one of the better offseasons in the league after acquiring Mike Conley via trade and signed Bojan Bogdanovic in free agency, while retaining the team's pillars — Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

    The Jazz are just one season removed from a fifth-place finish in the competitive Western Conference and arguably got better across the board ahead of 2019–20.

    Utah will open up regular-season play when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 23.

     

  • Raptors & Pascal Siakam reportedly agree to multi-year extension Raptors & Pascal Siakam reportedly agree to multi-year extension

    The Toronto Raptors have agreed to a four-year, $130million extension with Pascal Siakam, according to reports.

    ESPN claimed the Raptors have come to terms on a max deal for Siakam, a key player in Toronto's run to a maiden NBA title last season.

    Siakam had a breakout year for Toronto last season and was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for his efforts. The Cameroonian averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

    Siakam finished the NBA Finals, in which the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2, averaging 19.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

    Drafted by Toronto with the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the New Mexico State product spent most of his rookie season in the G League where he won Finals MVP and the championship with Raptors 905.

     

  • Kyrie Irving 'conflicted' but keeps talks private amid latest China protest Kyrie Irving 'conflicted' but keeps talks private amid latest China protest

    Kyrie Irving acknowledged he was "conflicted" but would not divulge discussions with commissioner Adam Silver as the NBA's relationship with China remains on the agenda.

    Preseason games in China - involving Irving's Brooklyn Nets - were at the centre of controversy after a since-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supported anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

    Morey's comments overshadowed what had been expected to be a celebration of the NBA in one of their key international markets, with media duties cancelled, although the games went ahead.

    LeBron James, whose Los Angeles Lakers were also involved, weighed in on his return to the United States, suggesting Morey "wasn't educated" on the matter.

    And Irving was asked about the situation following the Nets' final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center, where fans were pictured wearing "Stand with Hong Kong" shirts in the stands.

    Questions centred on a reported behind-closed-doors meeting between Silver and the players involved in China.

    "I don't know whose notes [reports are from] or who is in there that you can't really depend on to keep a conversation like that in house," Irving said. "Especially when it is about the NBA brand and the NBA players being impacted by it.

    "I stand for four things, man: inner peace, freedom, equality and world peace. So, if that is being conflicted inside of me, I am definitely going to have something to say, and I left it in that room."

    Irving, who scored 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting in the defeat to the Raptors, added: "I understand that Hong Kong and China is dealing with their issues, respectively.

    "But there is enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well."

    Silver claimed earlier this week the Chinese government had asked the NBA to fire Morey, adding: "We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.