The Philadelphia 76ers and star youngster Ben Simmons agreed to a five-year, $170 million max-level extension on Monday.
This is just the latest of many moves teams have made to lock up young core pieces. There’s also a lot that can be taken away from a move of this ilk. Let’s look at some of the top ones.
Sixers are sold on building around Simmons
There were rumors around the NBA water cooler last season that the Sixers were not happy with Simmons. Primarily, the team was worried that he wasn’t working enough on what is a non-existent mid-range game. All of this came at a time when Simmons’ personal life was making waves publicly.
We can now throw all of that out the window. Sure Simmons must improve his shot if this is going to be seen as a good deal for Philly. But it’s pretty darn clear that general manager Elton Brand and Co. are committed to building the team around Simmons.
Other youngsters are about to get paid
The 2016 class has now seen Simmons and Jamal Murray get paid big time. While there’s not a ton of star power from said NBA Draft, others are going to fall in line here soon.
Sacramento Kings star guard Buddy Hield is coming off a career-best season that saw him average 20.7 points on 43 percent shooting from distance. Selected one pick ahead of Murray, Hield is looking at something similar to the five-year, $170 million extension Murray inked with Denver. Meanwhile, the likes of Jaylen Brown and Pascal Siakam could also be in line for huge extensions this summer.
Youngsters taking the cash now
Murray and Simmons could have played out the 2019-20 season and become restricted free agents next summer. Both could have then agreed to qualifying offers and hit the unrestricted market in 2021. Neither decided to do that.
This tells us a story of young stars making sure they get that first huge pay day before they are even in their prime. It’s been a consistent theme throughout the NBA world in recent years. Simmons will now more than likely hit free agency when he’s in his prime. Given the NBA’s record revenue and with max contracts being increased each year, that could be a record haul for the All-Star performer.
Sixers core is set for years
Whether Philadelphia can be considered legit title favorites back east remains to be seen. It will need Simmons to improve offensively with Joel Embiid remaining healthy.
However, Brand and Co. now have their core group set. The Sixers signed Al Horford to a four-year contract in free agency while re-signing win Tobias Harris to a massive deal. They also acquired Josh Richardson in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. Philly’s core five is now set for at least the next three seasons. Given the criticism Brand received during this year’s NBA Draft, that can’t be seen as a bad thing.