76ers' Ben Simmons Unlikely to Participate in 2019 FIBA World Cup for Australia

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons in action during an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is "doubtful" to play for Australia in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China so that he can prepare for the 2019-20 NBA season, agent Rich Paul told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday. 

The 2019 FIBA World Cup is being held in China from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15.

After winning Rookie of the Year in 2017-18, Simmons followed that up by taking the next step and earning an All-Star selection last season. The 22-year-old averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game while helping the Sixers earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia has championship aspirations after reaching the second round of the postseason in back-to-back seasons. Although four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick moved on this offseason, five-time All-Star Al Horford has been added to the mix.

It's also worth noting that Simmons is currently scheduled to enter a contract year. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month that a five-year, $170 million extension has been put on the table by the Sixers, but a deal has yet to be signed.

This is not the first time Simmons has prioritized the NBA over international play. He announced prior to the 2016 NBA draft that he would skip the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that summer so that he could focus on making sure he was ready his rookie season.

Simmons previously represented his country at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship, helping Australia take home the gold. He was not part of the team's 12-man roster for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and the Boomers wound up being eliminated in the Round of 16.

Simmons said in Nov. 2017 he intends on suiting up for Australia in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

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