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It’s been a big week in hoops. Here’s the latest on Ben Simmons’ Boomers future, Nick Kyrgios’ surprise NBL defection and the NBL star gaining traction from NBA scouts.

The door remains open for Australian NBA star Ben Simmons to represent the Boomers at the 2023 World Cup in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines and at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Simmons is yet to play for Australia at a senior international tournament after pulling out on numerous occasions.

The Melbourne-born guard was added to the Boomers extended squad for the 2014 World Cup before being cut from the final 12-man roster.

Simmons wanted to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but withdrew to concentrate on preparing for his rookie NBA season.

He was also set to play at the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before again opting out due to his NBA commitments.

Simmons doesn’t have a senior Boomers game under his belt, but coach Brian Goorjian says the gifted Nets guard remains part of Australia’s plans, should he choose to don the green and gold.

“Absolutely – everyone in the Boomers camp supports Ben,” Goorjian told News Corp.

“He is an Aussie.”

Simmons also has the support of Australia’s greatest basketballer, Lauren Jackson.

The legendary Opal took to social media this week to publicly back her fellow Aussie on the eve of his Brooklyn Nets NBA debut.

“Go Ben Simmons,” Jackson said on her Instagram stories.

“So, so, so excited to see you doing you again #killit.

“We are all right behind you.”

Simmons showed glimpses of his best in his Brooklyn debut against his former franchise Philadelphia on Tuesday.

In his first NBA game in 471 days, he finished with six points, four rebounds, five assists and one steal in 19 minutes.

Simmons missed both of his free-throw attempts and a few more mid-range jump shots, prompting boos from the crowd.

“The only way you learn is making mistakes,” Simmons said.

“I had a few out there tonight, so I can go back and look at film and know what I did wrong and how to fix that. It’s all a learning process for me still.”

Simmons will also benefit from the presence of Boomers veteran guard Patty Mills at Brooklyn.

Mills bleeds green and gold, so he’ll play a leading role in encouraging Ben to play for Australia.

Kyrgios Phoenix move prompts words

Nick Kyrgios’ surprise defection from the Sydney Kings to the South East Melbourne Phoenix as a club ambassador and potential part owner has caused a stir between the club’s owners.

Kings boss Paul Smith took to Twitter after this column reported that Kyrgios had linked with the Phoenix despite regularly attending Kings games and even being the face of the franchise’s charity game.

“Shout out to my new guy @TKokkinakis,” Smith joked, referring to fellow Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis.

“Let’s get around him @SydneyKings.

“NickKyrgios, you’ll need a team in the play offs so come home whenever you want, you’re always welcome.”

Phoenix owner Romie Chaudhari responded with: “Sounding a little desperate, my man.

NBA’s eyes on historic 36ers ahead of Giddey clash

NBA scouts are keeping a close eye on the Adelaide 36ers following their historic pre-season win over the Phoenix Suns.

I’m hearing import guard Craig Randall II has particularly impressed NBA teams after his breakout 35-point performance against the Suns, which has prompted multiple teams to express interest.

The reigning G League Most Improved Player (Long Island Nets) put on a shooting show for the 36ers alongside Robert Franks (32 points).

Franks, who had an NBA Summer League stint with the Boston Celtics earlier this year, recently revealed that the Celtics had given him inspiring advice.

“Boston loved how I competed and shot the basketball, but the biggest thing they told me is that (making it) is sometimes just opportunity and what the team needs,” Franks said.

“I had a good conversation with Brad Stevens (Celtics GM of basketball), and he didn’t sugar coat anything. He just said to just keep grinding.”

Adelaide’s final NBA assignment is on Friday from 11am (AEDT) – a clash against former 36er and NBL Rookie of the Year – Josh Giddey.

Giddey has already warned his Thunder teammates not to take the 36ers lightly.

Opal lifts lid on mental toll

Bronze-medal winning Opals centre Cayla George was reduced to tears as she detailed the mental toll the Australian women overcame to resurrect the team’s culture following the Liz Cambage scandal and a disastrous Tokyo Olympic campaign.

Cambage’s racial and physical attack on the Nigerian national team in a private scrimmage prior to the Tokyo Games was particularly draining on the playing group and staff.

“It has been a really long year,” an emotional George said, as she showed off her bronze medal.

“A lot of people doubted us, a lot of people attacked us, but a lot of people don’t know what we went through internally.

“But internally we stayed together and we’re back where we belong, so it feels really good.”

George also revealed how Lauren Jackson’s stellar 30-point haul in her final appearance for Australia was inevitable based on the legend’s focus pre-game.

“Lauren was pretty aggressively making statements before the game, saying: ‘we’ve got it and we’re going to do it’,” she said.

“She was in a really aggressive mindset like there was no alternative. She had been that way the whole tournament, but this was different.

“I was on the court when Lauren went on that scoring run in the third quarter, and I just stood there and laughed.

“It was magical to be on the court with her as she went off. It’s hard to explain being able to play alongside my childhood idol when she plays like that in her last game in the green and gold.”

Kings receive rings as record Baynes crowd awaits

Reigning titleholders the Sydney Kings are on track to attract the franchise’s biggest season-opening stand-alone crowd when they host NBA and Boomers big man Aron Baynes and his Brisbane Bullets on Friday night.

The Kings are set for a special night with the players to receive their championship rings and the club to unveil its 2022 championship banner.

Throw in the Baynes factor and Sydney look set to surpass the 10,761 crowd from Andrew Bogut’s debut game against Adelaide in 2018.

WNBL scraps mental health round

Former Opals captain Jenna O’Hea is disappointed to see the WNBL scrap the round she helped to create, the Lifeline Round, which raised over $15,000 for mental health.

O’Hea took to social media this week to also express her dismay at the league using its new major sponsor – digital accessory brand Cygnett – as part of the Community Award, even though she inspired the award.

“Disappointed that as soon as I retire there is no mental health/lifeline round,” O’Hea said on her Instagram stories about the new Cygnett Community Award.

“And as nice as it is to inspire an award, I knew nothing about this.”

NBA app’s potential Aus expansion

Adelaide’s historic win over the Phoenix Suns was lighting up social feeds around the globe this week and it might not be the last time.

The NBA unveiled their state-of-the-art new App recently with a range of new features that will bring fans closer to the action than ever before.

There will be exclusive content, behind the scenes footage plus a new interface that enables fans to choose their favourite teams and players.

The App will also feature a new NBA ID global membership program and discussions are underway to potentially showcase the NBL, G League and other global leagues via the league’s streaming service, NBA League Pass.

NBA League Pass returns this season with a new bundle and at its lowest pricing ever. For a limited time, the standard package is now available for AUD 21.99 per month (AUD 154.99 for full season) and the premium package for AUD 29.99 per month (AUD 209.99 for full season).

Subscribers will automatically receive the NBA TV direct-to-consumer offering as part of the new bundle.

“Launching our new NBA App and digital platform is a major milestone as we continue to build and strengthen our direct-to-consumer offerings,” said Chris Benyarko, NBA Executive Vice President, Direct-to-Consumer.

“We are thrilled to deliver a reimagined product that will enhance and personalise the way NBA fans engage with the league on a daily basis.”

Goulding set to join greats

Veteran Melbourne United sharpshooter Chris Goulding is on the cusp of NBL history.

If Goulding dishes out a pair of assists, he will join Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland as the only Melbourne players to knock down 500 threes and record 500 assists.

The bronze-medal winning Boomer and three-time NBL champion will get his chance to join the record books when United host the Sydney Kings at John Cain Arena on Sunday from 4pm (AEDT).

LIKE

The Adelaide 36ers’ epic win over the Phoenix Suns wasn’t the NBL’s biggest digital traffic driver for its website.

That honour still belongs to LaMelo Ball’s historic signing with the Illawarra Hawks in 2019.

The 36ers win came in second ahead of the Boomers vs Team USA series announcement, which was played over two games in Melbourne in ’19.

Adelaide’s victory over Phoenix – the first NBL team to beat an NBA side in a pre-season clash – sparked an online frenzy via the NBL’s channels.

These include: three million video views across social channels, a million views across website and app, 10,000 new social followers and a 2.5 million Facebook reach.

DISLIKE

IF FIBA wouldn’t ask the men to cramp a World Cup schedule into 10 days, then why was it allowed for the women at this year’s tournament in Sydney?

Fatigue and injuries became an inevitable part of the women’s Cup campaign with the tournament played over 10 days compared to the fortnight for the men.

Teams were also faced with incredibly short turnarounds between the quarter-finals and semi-finals and the semi-finals and the third-place game.

The Opals had just 15-and-a-half hours to prepare for their bronze medal game against Canada after losing a semi to China.

SHOOSH

Lauren Jackson’s remarkable Australian Opals comeback at age 41 has inspired other retired basketballers to consider playing again.

I’m told clubs have received calls from former players expressing a desire to follow in Jackson’s footsteps and dust off the sneakers for another playing stint.

NBL ROUND 2 FIXTURE

Thursday

Hawks vs Phoenix at the WIN Entertainment Centre from 7.30pm (AEDT) on ESPN and Kayo

Friday

Breakers vs JackJumpers at Spark Arena from 5.30pm (AEDT) on ESPN and Kayo

Kings vs Bullets at Qudos Bank Arena from 7.30pm (AEDT) on ESPN and Kayo

Saturday

Phoenix vs Taipans at John Cain Arena from 5.30pm (AEDT) on ESPN and Kayo

Wildcats vs Hawks at RAC Arena from 8pm (AEDT) on ESPN and Kayo

Sunday

JackJumpers vs Bullets at MyState Bank Arena from 2pm (AEDT) on ESPN, Kayo and 10Peach

United vs Kings at John Cain Arena from 4pm (AEDT) on ESPN, Kayo and 10Peach

Monday

Taipans vs Wildcats at Cairns Convection Centre from 7.30pm (AEDT) on ESPN and Kayo

Originally published as Logue Down: Boomers keep door open for Ben Simmons as Nick Kyrgios causes stir with NBL franchise defection

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