Sport Basketball Ben Simmons poised to lock up historic $239m NBA contract
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Ben Simmons poised to lock up historic $239m NBA contract

Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is preparing for another NBA season - and that leaves little time for the Boomers. Photo: AP
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Ben Simmons is poised to make Australian sporting history with a new $A239 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The five-year extension would be the richest deal signed by an Australian athlete and balloon to $A286 million if the 22-year-old made an All-NBA team next season.

Simmons and the 76ers are eligible to sign the extension on Monday (Tuesday AEST).

The deal might be historic for Australia but it will be one of many huge deals signed by NBA superstars when the frenzied free agency period opens on Sunday (Monday 11am AEST).

Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker will be eligible to sign new multi-year contracts with their current teams or re-shape the NBA landscape by fleeing to new teams.

Durant, likely to miss the entire 2019-20 season after suffering an achilles rupture in the NBA Finals, is eligible for a five-year, $A315 million contract if he stays with the Golden State Warriors.

Simmons is just one piece 76ers general manager Elton Brand needs to secure in the coming week to keep them on track for a serious tilt at a title next season.

Brand is under pressure to re-sign three other starters who have become free agents and are being pursued by rival teams: Jimmy Butler; Tobias Harris; and JJ Redick.

Butler and Harris are eligible for five-year, $A270 million contracts.

Redick, one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters and coming off a career-high scoring season, is expected to seek a multi-year deal for at least $A14 million a year.

The 76ers’ owners have signalled they are willing to pay luxury tax for breaching the salary cap if it means re-signing Simmons, Butler and Harris to max contracts, retaining Redick and then filling out their roster with bench players.

STAR DESTINATIONS

KEVIN DURANT: Achilles injury or no achilles injury, Durant remains hot property and a Warriors posse led by general manager Bob Myers and star guard Stephen Curry is reportedly flying to New York to encourage Durant to re-sign.
Durant’s other suitors are the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.

KAWHI LEONARD: Canada will go into mourning if Leonard departs Toronto after he led the Raptors to the title, but there’s whispers Leonard and Durant are mulling joining up at the Clippers or Knicks.

The Los Angeles Lakers have also become a contender after clearing enough salary cap space to pay Leonard a max deal to create a mega team with LeBron James and All-Star big man Anthony Davis.

KYRIE IRVING
Brooklyn Nets, after their impressive season, appear almost certain to sign Irving.

KLAY THOMPSON
Thompson, expected to miss most of the regular season with a torn ACL suffered in the Finals, is expected to stay with the Warriors by signing a five-year $A270 million max deal.

KEMBA WALKER
Charlotte Hornets declined to pay their star point guard a max deal so he appears headed to the Celtics to fill the void left by Irving.