Nuggets’ Jokic may not suit up for Serbia at EuroBasket

Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) reacts during the first half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who powered Serbia’s surprise run to the gold medal game at last year’s Rio Olympics, is undecided on whether he will represent his country at EuroBasket 2017.

Jokic, fresh off a breakout campaign with a Nuggets team that failed to make the NBA playoffs, told reporters in Denver he is excited to head to Serbia for the offseason but was unsure when he would return to the United States.

“I don’t know when I’m coming back (to Denver) because of the national team,” Jokic said on Monday when asked about his travel plans for the summer.

“I need to think about that. I’m going to see.”

The comments from the second-year big man, who averaged 16.7 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds in the 2016-17 NBA campaign, come after his agent said the Nuggets are focused on making sure Jokic is in peak physical shape for next season.

Jokic was the only NBA player on the Serbian team that won the silver medal in Rio and following an impressive sophomore NBA campaign the Nuggets consider him to be on the brink of becoming a transcendent player.

“A lot has changed in the meantime and they (the Nuggets) want him to spend this summer in a different way,” Jokic’s agent Miodrag Raznatovic told Serbian media.

“He will talk to them before he returns to Serbia in order to get the go ahead to play for the Serbian national team.”

Under NBA rules, a team cannot keep a player from national team competition.

A spokesman for the Nuggets declined to comment.

EuroBasket will be played in Finland, Israel, Romania and Turkey from Aug. 31-Sept. 17. The NBA’s regular season typically begins in late October. —  By Rory Carroll

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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