Serbian National Team to play without Nikola Jokic

Ambitions of Serbian National Team shattered after NBA players pull out

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At the end of this month, the Serbian National Team plays the Olympic pre-qualifying tournament in Belgrade. Nobody doubts that they will beat the Philippines and the Dominican Republic and qualify for Tokyo.

But the ambitions of the Serbian National Team go far beyond a mere qualification. They secretly dream about the gold medal. The reason is that top-favorite, team USA, will not bring the best of the best as several players have already said that they want to take the summer off. Superstar LeBron James is one of them.

The times are long gone when team USA could send their second or third team and still pick up the gold medal. The last time they tried was at the 2019 FIBA World Championship, which ended in an embarrassing 7th place.

Therefore, the hopes and ambitions of the Serbian National Team are understandable. Nikola Jokic was voted MVP of the NBA this season, but he is not alone. Vasilije Micic was voted MVP of the Euroleague, Milos Teodosic of the Eurocup and Filip Petrusev of the Adriatic League.

However, Nikola Jokic has stated that he won’t play for the Serbian National Team. He needs to rest his body after a long grueling NBA season. A bigger reason for his absence may be that he is expected to negotiate and sign a $ 241 million contract this summer with his Denver Nuggets.

Serbian National Team to play without Nikola Jokic

This was not the only blow to the Serbian ambitions. Nineteen-year-old rookie sensation Aleksandar Pokusevski (Oklahoma City Thunder) also decided to take the summer off, followed by Alen Smailagic (Golden State Warriors).

Serbia has three more NBA players left, but their situation is unclear. Bogdan Bogdanovic is currently playing the NBA playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks. He is averaging 16.2 ppg, and all eyes are now on him.

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