If you are in Tommy Sheppard’s shoes as the Washington Wizards’ President of Basketball Operations, you know you need to find diamonds in the rough. The Wizards are in salary cap purgatory (or jail) given that much of the team’s salary is committed to Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis. If things play out right, all three will be back next year.
Enter Xavier Cooks.
The Wizards officially signed him last week, and he made his debut last Saturday against the Sacramento Kings, grabbing two rebounds in about five minutes, not long after he led the Sydney Kings to the NBL championship in Australia. He was also named the NBL’s Most Valuable Player this season after averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
And now, we know how much Cooks will make. According to Olgun Uluc of ESPN.com.au (that’s ESPN’s Australian/Kiwi site), he signed a four-year $6.1 million contract. Furthermore, according to ESPN’s Michael Scotto, the contract isn’t fully guaranteed. The third year (2024-25) is a non-guaranteed contract while the fourth year (2025-26) is a team option.
The Washington Wizards have signed Xavier Cooks to a four-year, $6.1 million deal, league sources told @hoopshype. The deal is guaranteed the rest of this season and the 2023-24 season, is non-guaranteed for the 2024-25 season, and includes a team option for the 2025-26 season.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) March 17, 2023
To me, it’s too early to say how good Cooks will be as he gets acclimated to the Wizards this season and gets fully invested into the NBA life next season. If things do not work out, the Wizards could cut Cooks before the 2024-25 season and it’s not like his contract will hurt the Wizards much anyway. But if he turns out to be a solid rotation player (or maybe even better!), Cooks could very well be one of those diamonds in the rough the Wizards need to stay competitive while keeping their core together.