Ben Simmons has agreed to a $A242m contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers in the richest deal by an Australian athlete.
But doubt still hangs over whether the Melbourne-born NBA All-Star will play for Australia later this year at the World Cup in China and in Melbourne and Perth exhibition games.
Simmons’ acceptance of the 76ers’ five-year, $US170m maximum contract extension had been expected.
The Athletic, citing Simmons’ agent Rich Paul, was the first to report on Monday he had accepted the offer.
It was Paul who shocked Australian sports fans on the weekend when he told ESPN that Simmons was “doubtful” to play for Australia at the World Cup in August and September.
His absence would be a major blow to the Boomers’ hopes of claiming a medal in China in September and to huge crowds of Australian fans planning to watch him play exhibition games with the Boomers.
The Boomers will play a powerful US squad twice in front of more than a combined 100,000 fans at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne in August.
Simmons was also set to play for the Boomers twice in Perth against a strong Canadian squad before jetting out to China.
The Boomers are yet to win a medal at a World Cup or Olympics, but with Simmons spearheading a team laden with Australian NBA players including Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Aron Baynes and Jonah Bolden, the drought appeared set to be broken.