76ers’ Ben Simmons will not play for Australia at FIBA World Cup

Ben Simmons playing for the World Team at the 2018 NBA All-Star Rising Stars game. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

After seemingly confirming his participation in Australia’s efforts at the upcoming FIBA World Cup back in May, Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons said Tuesday he won’t play in the tournament.

“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 said via a letter posted to Twitter.

“…Ultimately, we decided it was best that I use the time in September to return to Philadelphia to acquaint myself with my new teammates and prepare for the upcoming NBA season.”

Simmons confirmed he does plan to return to Australia to host camps and participate in the national team’s exhibition games, and plans on playing for the Boomers at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The 22-year-old Melbourne, Australia native recently signed a five-year, $170-million max extension with the 76ers. Having just wrapped up his second season in the NBA, the 2016 No. 1 pick heads into Year 3 with career averages of 16.4 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game and 7.9 assists per game.

Simmons has represented Australia at the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship and the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship. The 2019 FIBA World Cup goes Aug. 31 until Sept. 15, with Australia and Canada both looking to advance out of Group H.

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