Bogut’s back­ing Benny

NT News - - SPORT - MATT LOGUE

AN­DREW Bogut says he un­der­stands if Aus­tralian NBA star Ben Sim­mons doesn’t play for the Boomers in next year’s World Cup to rest and fo­cus on his big dol­lar con­tract ex­ten­sion with Philadel­phia.

Sim­mons is the only Aus­tralian yet to pledge his com­mit­ment to the 2019 World Cham­pi­onships in China.

The 76ers point guard is el­i­gi­ble for a five-year max­i­mum con­tract ex­ten­sion worth up to a whop­ping $223 mil­lion in July 2019.

The reign­ing NBA rookie of the year is likely to be deep in dis­cus­sions about his fu­ture at the time, mean­ing he hasn’t yet been will­ing to com­mit to play­ing in the tour­na­ment.

Bogut said it would be a shame if Sim­mons didn’t play in the World Cup but he won’t hold it against the Aussie sen­sa­tion if he opts out.

“Benny is in a tricky po­si­tion,” Bogut rea­soned.

“There have been times in my ca­reer in the NBA where the na­tional team took a back step to get­ting my body right.

“I know he hasn’t had a break the past two off-sea­sons.

“I feel that if he does miss the World Cup I un­der­stand it. Peo­ple will be dis­ap­pointed but we haven’t had an an­swer ei­ther way on that.

“I know he is very adamant on the Olympics but as far as the World Cup, who knows.

“But if he doesn’t play, we’ll just have to move on and hope ev­ery­one else plays.”

Bogut also en­dorsed Bas­ket­ball Aus­tralia’s new Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Agree­ment.

The Na­tional Teams CBA, which will be in place un­til 2022, en­sures im­proved travel con­di­tions, bet­ter con­tract pro­vi­sions, pro­tec­tions, and a rev­enue share model.

The new CBA will de­liver the play­ers 25 per cent of Bas­ket­ball Aus­tralia’s rev­enue for in­ter­na­tional games in Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing 2019’s dou­ble­header be­tween the Boomers and Team USA in Mel­bourne.

Bogut played a vi­tal role in the setup of the new CBA as an Aus­tralian Bas­ket­ball Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion board mem­ber.

The for­mer NBA cham­pion said the new CBA is a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward.

“When I was first on the na­tional team we were wash­ing our own jer­seys in a bath­tub with ho­tel soap,” he said.

AN­DREW BOGUT

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