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Australia’s NBL MVP Xavier Cooks signs 2-year deal with Wizards

Australia’s top player is headed to the Washington Wizards.

Washington reached a deal to sign Sydney Kings forward Xavier Cooks, the Australian club announced. Cooks is the reigning National Basketball League MVP, and last season’s NBL Finals MVP.

Cooks will join the Wizards after the Kings finish their series in the NBL Finals with the New Zealand Breakers. The series is currently tied 1-1 after the Kings’ 81-74 win in Game 2 on Saturday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Cooks will join the Wizards on a deal that runs through the end of next season.

"I speak for the entire Kings family when I say we are thrilled for Xavier to take this next step to the NBA and realize his childhood dream,” Kings CEO Chris Pongrass said in a statement.

“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. 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”

Xavier Cooks
Xavier Cooks will join the Wizards after finishing the NBL Finals with the Sydney Kings this week. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Cooks is now the fifth player in five years to make the jump from the Kings to the NBA. Andrew Bogut is by far the most notable among that group, which also includes Brian Bowen, Jae’Sean Tate and Didi Louzada.

Cooks, 28, has averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and led the Kings to a league-best 19-9 record in the regular season. He shot a career-best 59.6% from the field in the regular season.

Cooks will join the Wizards in the final stretch of their season while the franchise is trying to sneak into the playoffs. The team holds a 30-33 record headed into Sunday’s game with the Milwaukee Bucks, which puts them in 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. They sit 1.5 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the final play-in spot.