Andrew Bogut Claims The Victorian Government Pulled Back $145 Million Over Ben Simmons

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NBA vet and Australian basketball great Andrew Bogut is taking aim at the Victorian government over a massive $145 million dollar payout from an incident involving Ben Simmons.

The US were traveling to Melbourne to face the Australian team, and Bogut stated on his podcast (Rogues Bogues) that Simmons’ camp requested to play in the two exhibition games, inking a deal with Tourism Victoria.

The idea of Simmons playing didn’t sit well with everyone, and then-head coach Andrej Lemanis and the rest of the team were not fans of having Simmons come in and take playing time away from someone who needed it to prepare for the World Cup.

Simmons wasn’t the only NBA star who pulled out of playing for the US team, and Bogut spoke about the pressures of putting on a big event, which at that point earned him a call from the Victorian government.

Bogut said the conversation centered around the “$145 million” budgeted towards developing basketball in the state.

“The call was given to Basketball Australia and it basically said this: ‘If you don’t let Ben Simmons play in these two games in Melbourne that money is gone, we’re not giving it to basketball in Victoria,” Bogut said of the phone call.

“We’re going to do our best to get that number down as close to zero as possible and you will never get another dime from the Victorian government ever again.’”

The Victorian government has responded, stating that no threat was made towards taking the money away from the program.

“The Victorian Government made no such threat regarding the State Basketball Centre, which was a 2018 election commitment,” a spokeswoman told The Herald.

“The fact is, Ben Simmons played in neither game and notwithstanding that, all funding commitments by the Victorian Government towards basketball have been honoured and were never in question.”

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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