Boomers legend Andrew Bogut has called on Ben Simmons to make a call on his Tokyo Olympic commitment and stop “dangling the carrot” with false hope.
Australian fans and legends alike have expressed frustration following reports Simmons is unlikely to play at Tokyo to focus on skill development after a disappointing NBA playoffs campaign with Philadelphia.
It comes as Simmons’ only chance of playing for Australia in Japan could be due to a contractual agreement with Four’N Twenty pies.
He already appears in one commercial for the company where he jokingly shoots a three despite his struggles from range, but he is set to feature in a new ad that would coincide with an Australian Olympic campaign.
Whether this deal is enough to sway Simmons to commit to the Boomers remains to be seen.
Boomers legend Andrew Bogut has been unveiled as part of the Channel 7 basketball commentary team for the Tokyo Olympics alongside Andrew Gaze and John Casey. Picture: Adam YipSource:News Corp Australia
Boomers officials are yet to receive a decision from the Melbourne-born guard’s management with Australian squad members arriving this week for the team’s drop-in camp in Los Angeles.
Bogut would respect Simmons if he opted to put his NBA career before the national team, but he just wants him to be upfront about playing or not.
“I think that is more the frustrating thing from the national team’s point of view about him pulling out, is just him giving an answer,” said Bogut, who has been unveiled as part of the Channel 7 basketball commentary team for the Tokyo Olympics alongside Andrew Gaze and John Casey.
“If he pulls out, it is fine, and people will understand. He has got other things he needs to work on, you’ve had a bad run and you are getting run out of town somewhat.
“The world has kind of turned on him in the last week. Everyone would understand that, but it is more the dangling carrot that he puts in front of Basketball Australia.
“I think that is something that should be fixed in my opinion.
“I think no one knows (the decision) but Ben and that is the way that he does business.
“He is one foot in and one foot out with the national team. That has kind of been his memo.”
Simmons is also facing an uncertain future at Philadelphia following a disappointing playoff campaign.
He particularly struggled on the offensive end, with his free throw shooting dropping to an all-time NBA playoff low of 33 per cent.
Despite the 76ers announcing they remain committed to working through Simmons’ shooting issues this summer, Bogut believes a trade could still happen.
The Aussie is contracted at Philadelphia until 2025 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He is set to earn more than $180 million in that time.
From experience in the NBA, Bogut knows that means the 76ers would require a superstar swap in a trade to part ways with the Simmons before his contract expires to justify the dollars they would be shipping out.
“He (Ben) is on a huge contract, so if he does get moved, there needs to be a team that can absorb that kind of salary,” said Bogut, who also feels the Simmons and Joel Embiid combination hasn’t worked at the 76ers.
“And there aren’t a lot of teams with that kind of cap space available right now.
“Generally, teams that absorb a huge salary want picks and some sort of compensation back in return, but Philly has to say the right things (about Ben).
“They aren’t going to say they are going to trade him because his trade value would then go to zero.
“So, there is a bit of a chess game that is going to be played between Philly and the rest of the league.”
Ben Simmons training with members of the 18-man Boomers squad ahead of the 2019 World Cup in China. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross.Source:AAP
Simmons has also been lashed for being “babied” by his support crew, which includes family members.
There is a belief that his closet allies are preventing him from taking the next step in his career, in terms of pushing him to work harder on his flawed shooting.
Bogut didn’t enter speculation, only saying he was impressed with Simmons during the one day he witnessed him train at Boomers camp prior to the 2019 World Cup in China.
“And he was okay in that setting,” he said.
“But I know he has been pushed and pulled by his management Clutch Sports at times, by his family at times, his brother at times.
“I don’t know the answer to that, but this isn’t going to be a guy that averages one point for the rest of his career.
“He is still going to be a very good player in the league. I think he has got some work to do in the off-season that isn’t just on the court.
“I think some of it would be mental now. I went through a similar situation with free throws at different stages of my career, so it is always a work in progress.”
Bogut won’t be at this year’s Olympics after injury forced him to retire, but he can’t wait to join Channel 7’s basketball commentary team in a special comments role.
“I guess not playing in the Olympics, this will be the closest thing to be a part of it, so it was a no-brainer for me,” he said.
“I’ll be breaking down the game with insights and having some fun as well.”
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