PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons has elected to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics and not play for the Australian national team, per a release from Basketball Australia. ESPN first reported the news.
Instead, Simmons will spend the offseason focusing on his individual skill development.
“It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn’t worked,” Boomers coach Brian Goorjian said in a release. “The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him. We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him.”
Goorjian is right — it is a really rough time to be Simmons right now.
Simmons is coming off his worst playoff performance in his NBA career. Against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, he averaged 9.9 points per game and only attempted 14 shots in the final three games of the series.
Plus, Simmons’ 34.2 free throw percentage in the playoffs was the worst in postseason history.
Then, there’s everything happening off the basketball court. Last week, Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, reportedly met with vice president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand in Chicago at the NBA Draft Combine to discuss his future with the Sixers.
While there reportedly wasn’t a trade request made, one could potentially be on the horizon this summer as the NBA offseason looms.
Fellow Sixers teammate and Second-Team All-Defense honoree Matisse Thybulle is expected to join the Boomers for the Olympics this summer.
By Digital Content Producer Tom Ignudo.