The Australian league’s MVP Xavier Cooks signs NBA deal with the Washington Wizards

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The Wizards are already thinking about the next campaign as they’ve signed their first new player for the 2023/24 season. As of this month, Australian Xavier Cooks will play for the Washington team for the remainder of the current season as well as the next one. 

After the contract buyout, the 27-year-old will participate in the NBA for the first time in his career and become the 11th Australian currently playing in the league.

Not too long ago, the guard was awarded the NBL’s MVP for this season, as his team the Sydney Kings are contesting the Grand Final series. His squad is currently tied 1-1 as they are competing against the New Zealand Breakers.

Cooks, who has been followed by NBA franchises as a future prospect for a while now, is recovering slowly from an ankle injury. The player participated less than 10 minutes in Sydney’s Game 2 triumph this past Sunday, as his teammate Justin Simon was the Kings’ strongest player.

To send off the six-feet-seven player to the NBA on a winning spirit, now the Kings just need to collect two more victories to achieve back-to-back titles in Australia. The third match of the NBL Grand Final series will happen in Sydney this next Friday night.

The athlete, who can also play as a power forward, has played for the Sydney squad for 4 years now and led the team to last year’s title championship with his talent and amazing poster dunks.

“I speak for the entire Kings family when I say we are thrilled for Xavier to take this next step to the NBA and realise his childhood dream,” said Sydney Kings CEO Chris Pongrass.

“It is difficult to properly articulate the impact X has had on this Club. His talent, leadership and innate desire to win completely shifted our trajectory these past four seasons,” he continued. “It is obvious that he is an NBA talent and belongs among the best players in the world.

“We thank X for his contribution to our club. He will forever be a King.”

Kings’ contribution to the NBA has been immense in the past five years

Cooks now joins Andrew Bogut, Jae’Sean Tate, Didi Louzada, and Brian Bowen as the fifth Australian player to jump from Sydney to the NBA in the past five years.

He also joins his compatriots Patty Mills, Jack White, Josh Giddey, Mathew Dellavedova, Josh Green, Ben Simmons, Jock Landale and Matisse Thybulle as the current Aussies representing their country in the league.

Check out Cooks’ best highlights of his career in the following video:

The new Washington signing made Australian headlines last year when he said he was expecting to make a move to the U.S. league after this current championship. However, he was clear in saying his first priority is to conquer a second championship with the Kings.

“To be honest with you, if I don’t make it after this season it’s going to be pretty tough to do it,” Cooks said. “I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’m about to be 28 years old next year. My window’s now. If it doesn’t happen after this year, it doesn’t happen.”

“But I think my path to the NBA is winning another championship here and showing my value to a team,” he concluded.