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Tucson native, NBL MVP Bryce Cotton opts out of contract with Australia's Perth Wildcats

Tucson native, NBL MVP Bryce Cotton opts out of contract with Australia's Perth Wildcats

Perth Nuggets Basketball

Former Palo Verde High School standout Bryce Cotton, dribbling the ball in an exhibition game between the Perth Wildcats and Denver Nuggets in 2018, has now won two MVP awards, two Grand Final MVP awards and three titles in Australia’s National Basketball League.

Bryce Cotton's run in Australia's National Basketball League (NBL) has come to an end after the Tucson native announced his decision on Instagram to opt out of his contract with the Perth Wildcats. 

The Tucson native and Palo Verde High School product, who's played with Perth for four seasons between 2016-20, received MVP honors this past season and led the Wildcats to two NBL titles. But due to COVID-19 causing the league to have financial issues, Cotton's contract, that's worth over $200,000, would have been cut by 50% for next season. 

"Due to the unforeseen circumstances that have unfolded, which none of us could've predicted, it is in me and my family's best interest to opt out of my contract," Cotton wrote on Instagram. "Regardless, I'll always be a Wildcat at heart and I hope you all feel the same way." 

The four-year NBL veteran is averaged a league-high 22.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game, leading the Wildcats to a 19-9 record in the regular season. Cotton, 27, was the first player in NBL history to lead the league in both scoring and steals. Cotton told the Star in early April that he was working towards Australian citizenship to play for the country in the Tokyo Olympics, which is now delayed until next year. 

Cotton had a two-week period to opt out of his contract, which had a May 4 deadline. 

"The timing is not ideal," Cotton said. 

"Please don't think this was the big announcement that my team of people have been working on." 

Contact sports content producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports

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Sports producer

Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.

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