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He’s back! Kings redemption arc continues, as Cooks signs mega deal


xavier cooks, sydney kings

Former league MVP Xavier Cooks is returning to the Sydney Kings, reportedly signing the NBL’s largest ever deal.

One of Australia’s best basketballers will be back in the NBL next season.

He departed to the NBA as the league MVP in Sydney’s second consecutive championship in early 2023. And a year later, news has surfaced that Xavier Cooks returns to the harbour city, as reported by ESPN.

Things didn’t quite work out in Washington, but the NBA’s loss is our gain.

The news comes just a fortnight after it was revealed that Australian basketball’s most celebrated coach, Brian Goorjian, is also returning to help try and lead the Kings back to the top.

Xavier Cooks to return to the Kings on a record deal

Cooks, now 28, will reportedly sign the largest deal in NBL history, after negotiating a three-year agreement with the basketballing powerhouse. The exact numbers have not yet been revealed.

It’s no surprise the Kings were comfortable going all-in on the Power Forward; he’s in the prime of his career and his production in the NBL is no joke.

On top of the league’s MVP in 2023 and Finals MVP in 2022, he was named All-NBL First Team in that 2022-23 season. Cooks was nursing injuries throughout the 2023 Playoffs, that limited his production, and yet he still found ways to help the Kings find a way.

Cooks was sorely missed throughout Sydney’s title defence last summer. The franchise scraped into the Play-In tournament, but were eliminated by the New Zealand Breakers. The Kings never really clicked under now-departed coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah, despite still possession an abundance of talent on the roster.

Xavier Cooks, NBL preview

Before Cooks is back in purple and gold in the NBL, he will play a key role with the Boomers at the Paris Olympics a little later in the year, along with veteran Patty Mills who recently joined the (likely) Playoff-bound Miami Heat.

Xavier Cooks is a versatile forward that stood out for the Kings as the team’s primary presence in the paint. He was central to the outfit’s strong defence and also facilitated a lot of what they did on offence, from a central position. His finishing around the rim was elite, averaging 15.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in his last NBL campaign.

Cooks’ production rightly earned him a shot in the NBA, but he was unfortunately waived at the end of last season over there and landed with the Chiba Jets in Japan’s B.League.

Goorjian and Kings now continue roster build for 2024-25

Even without Cooks last season, the Kings had an abundance of talent; Denzel Valentine, DJ Hogg and Jonah Bolden all brought top-line experience and talent, combined with productive locals like Angus Glover, Jaylin Galloway, Shaun Bruce and Next Star Alex Toohey. And yet, it never properly clicked.

Per ESPN, the Kings’ only other contracted players for next season and beyond, at the time of reporting, are Toohey, Bruce, Glover, Hogg (mutual option), Jackson Makoi and Makuach Maluach (team option).

The hard work starts now.

Picture of Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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