Ben Simmons is on the verge of signing the richest contract ever by an Australian athlete, but pressure will be on the 22-year-old to deliver an NBA title.
The Philadelphia 76ers have offered Australia’s Ben Simmons an historic new $US168 million ($A240.4 million) contract.
If, as expected, the 22-year-old accepts the maximum five-year contract extension it will be the richest deal signed by an Australian athlete.
ESPN reported on Tuesday the 76ers and Simmons’ agent Rich Paul “are expected to work through the details toward an eventual agreement”.
Simmons will likely pocket more cash with the NBA’s new salary cap projections expected to bump it up to $US170 million ($A243.2 million).
The 76ers’ faith in the Australian comes despite the team suffering consecutive second-round playoff departures in the past two seasons.
It also comes as Simmons is reluctant to shoot the ball from distance, which goes against the modern NBA where three-point shooting from point guards through to centres has become crucial.
The 76ers have had mixed success since free agency opened on Sunday.
The team was unable to retain All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, who is joining the Miami Heat, and sharpshooter JJ Redick who moved to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The team did retain forward Tobias Harris and in a potentially significant move signed Al Horford, the All-Star big man who had been a Philadelphia nemesis while playing for the Boston Celtics.
Simmons still had a year to go on his rookie contract, but the 76ers wanted the extension to lock in the athletic point-forward and triple-double machine.
The 76ers are one of the favourites to not only win the Eastern Conference next season but take the championship after the Golden State Warriors were weakened by the departure of Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, trading away veteran Andre Iguodala while guard Klay Thompson is expected to miss most of the regular season with a serious knee injury.