Sydney Kings young gun Xavier Cooks has cut his contract short, exercising his right to opt out of his remaining year at the Kings.
Following the recent pay agreement between the NBL and the Australian Basketball Players' Association which saw cuts of up to 50 percent for the 2020-21 season, players have been given the opportunity to sever their contracts before the May 4 deadline.
Succumbing to a knee injury while representing Australia in preparation for the 2019 World Cup, Cooks joined the Kings 15 games into the season and played a pivotal role in securing the team a minor premiership and its first Grand Final appearance since 2008.
In a statement, Sydney coach Will Weaver gave thanks to the 24-year-old for his work throughout 2019-20 season.
"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," Weaver said.
"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."
Cooks expressed his gratitude to the club.
"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," he said.
"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."
Brisbane Bullets centre Matt Hodgson has also exercised his right to opt out of the remainder of his contract.
After joining the club in 2018, Hodgson has played 57 games but will now look to overseas opportunities.