Xavier Cooks opts out of deal with Sydney Kings

From nbl.com.au :

Sydney Kings young-gun Xavier Cooks has exercised his right to opt out of the remaining year of his contract.

In light of the recent agreement between the NBL and the Australian Basketball Players’ Association which saw pay cuts of up to 50 percent for the 2020-21 season, a deadline of May 4 was set for players to declare their intention to explore opportunities overseas.

Cooks joined the Kings fifteen games into the NBL20 season after recovering from a knee injury he suffered while representing Australia in preparation for the 2019 World Cup. Although a highly sought-after European prospect, Cooks’ decision to sign with the Kings indicated a desire for local players to return home to play in the NBL.

The young Boomer played a pivotal role in helping the Kings to a Minor Premiership and their first Grand Final appearance since 2008, while averaging 6 points and 9 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.

Sydney Kings CEO Chris Pongrass thanked Xavier for his time in Sydney.

“This is an uncertain period for us all, and we stand behind Xavier in his decision. Xavier embodies the type of character this organisation looks to build around. He is a unique talent and a fantastic person with an incredibly bright future ahead of him. Xavier will forever be a King and the door will always remain open for him to return.”

Kings management will continue discussions with Cooks’ representation to explore options for the upcoming season and beyond while holding the local rights for Cooks if he chooses to return to the NBL.

Head Coach Will Weaver, who also coached Cooks during the Boomers World Cup campaign added his thanks to Cooks.

“I’m grateful to Xavier for trusting us to play a role in his development as he strives to achieve his dreams of playing at the highest level”.

“His return from injury and desire to contribute in whatever way our team needed demonstrates the toughness and unselfishness that makes me confident we will see him reach his goals” Weaver said.

Xavier Cooks commented, “I’ve loved every moment during my short time with the Kings, and am thankful to everyone involved. I would love to return to the NBL and win a championship for Sydney to finish what we started this year”.

“Unfortunately, due to the changes in the league, my family and I feel like it’s best for me to opt out of my current contract and explore my options. My agent will continue to communicate with the Kings throughout the off-season in the hope that a new deal can be reached”.

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