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Ben Simmons signs with LeBron James' management on way to NBA riches

Ben Simmons has taken another major step on the path to becoming the NBA's next $US100 million man.

The Melbourne 19-year-old announced in a video message on Wednesday he had signed with NBA star LeBron James' management company, Klutch Sports Group.

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It was not a surprise, with reports surfacing last week Simmons had left Louisiana State University after one disappointing season to turn professional, and had an arrangement in place with Klutch.

It was also not a surprise Simmons was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a big Nike symbol in the 28-second video.

The sporting goods giant is believed to have the inside running in signing Simmons to a shoe deal that former Nike marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro estimates will be worth more than $US100 million.

James signed a lifetime shoe deal last year with Nike worth an estimated $US500 million, while comes on top of other endorsements worth around $US50 million annually.


"I just wanted to let you guys know the past few days for me have been busy and productive and I've come to the decision that I've signed with Klutch Sports Group and for me that's a big step in the right direction," Simmons says in the video posted on Uninterrupted.

"I believe it's another family for me and now it's all about putting in the hard work and getting myself ready for the next level.

"It's an exciting period, but I'm looking forward to it."

Klutch was founded in 2012 by James' longtime friend Rich Paul, who has become one of the most powerful agents in US sport with clients including James and other NBA stars John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and James' Cleveland Cavaliers' teammate Tristan Thompson.

Simmons has long been the consensus projected No.1 pick in the NBA draft, but after failing to get LSU to the NCAA tournament, appears to be losing some ground to 18-year-old Duke University forward Brandon Ingram.

Simmons' relationship with James and Klutch appears to have been forged in 2014 when the then 17-year-old son of former Melbourne Tigers big-man Dave Simmons attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas.

Simmons' older sister, Emily Bush, has had a marketing/branding job at Klutch since around that time, Yahoo Sports reported.

With the NBA rewarding the worst teams with the best chance of scoring the top picks in the draft, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly in a race to the bottom of the standings in the hope of securing No.1.