The NBA’s frenzied free agent market is set to open but for Australian star Ben Simmons the focus will be on a rich new deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Simmons is poised to make Australian sporting history with a new $A239 million contract.
The five-year extension would be the richest deal signed by an Australian athlete and would 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 the 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.