Expectations have been leaning that way for a while, but it's official now. According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Ben Simmons has confirmed via his agent, Rich Paul, that he will not be joining the Boomers in their Rio Olympic campaign this year.
As per ESPN, Paul's statement confirms Simmons' delayed participation in the national team, with the focus being on the upcoming NBA draft.
"Ben Simmons will postpone playing with the Australian Olympic team this summer in order to concentrate fully on his NBA activities following the upcoming 2016 NBA draft.
Australian Olympic Team training and competition takes place at the same time as the various NBA summer development programs, and therefore, Ben will look forward to his national team participation at some time later in his career."
Jayme covered the pros and cons of the situation before, and recency bias is important here - Dante Exum's ACL injury happened during a Boomers game against Slovenia last year --that ended up sidelining him for the entire 2015/16 NBA season-- likely did not skew the discussion towards Australia's cause as well.
When Simmons declared his decision to commit to the NBA draft, it felt like things would go that way. I'd written about this back then:
It’s unlikely Simmons will make his decision known, until a consensus is reached with his new agent and likely his prospective NBA team.
Whilst Simmons’ decision to quit college early comes with mild surprise, it only serves to hammer home a singular point: the draft is all that matters in the coming days.
Simmons' decision is logical and inevitable, given the importance of the NBA draft, and how it will shape Simmons' professional career moving forward.
Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia has also elaborated on the near-impossible constraints on timing and geography for Simmons.
The need to train and prepare for draft workouts and stay in shape, followed by Summer League action that likely clashes with the Boomers' training? A lot has to go right for this delicate dance between national and professional obligations to be performed to perfection.
With that being said, this year's Boomers roster is stacked with elite veteran talent, including most of our Australians in the NBA. There's no reason to think that the Rio campaign's outcome has been massively impacted by Simmons' non-participation.
Our best wishes to Ben Simmons as he prepares himself for the NBA draft, and we're looking forward to seeing him in action as his new career kicks off.