Report: Nuggets Concerned About Nikola Jokic's Rest Ahead of Tokyo Olympics Decision

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2021

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) argues for a call in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA second-round playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Serbian national basketball team hasn't qualified for the Olympics yet, but the Denver Nuggets are concerned about the potential consequences for Nikola Jokic should they make it to Tokyo.

According to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, the Nuggets are worried about the reigning MVP's opportunities to rest should he represent his home country in Tokyo this summer.

Jokic has appeared in all 109 games the Nuggets have played since Aug. 1, and he finished the season third in total minutes with 2,488.

The Nuggets' season ended Sunday when they were swept by the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Nuggets tried to get Jokic to consider sitting at the end of the regular season, but he wouldn't relent. Head coach Michael Malone told reporters at the time that he respected Jokic's "pride" but stressed that he wanted the team to "be smart" heading into the postseason. 

Serbian website Mozzart Sport (h/t Emiliano Carchia of Sportando) reported Monday that Jokic is unlikely to join the team for the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, which is scheduled for June 29-July 4. 

Naturally, if Serbia makes it out of that tournament, Jokic is expected to earn a roster spot to represent his country. Bogdan Bogdanovic is also not likely to play in the qualifying tournament, according to the Mozzart Sport report.

Jokic helped Serbia to a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He only has one other international medal, from the U19 World Championship when he helped the Serbian squad win silver in 2013. 

The 26-year-old averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists this season.