Nikola Jokic, the NBA MVP for the Denver Nuggets, said he will neither play for Serbia in Olympic qualifying nor, if the nation advances, at the Tokyo Games, according to multiple reports, including a Serbian news agency.
Jokic, 26, could have been the centerpiece of a medal-contending Serbian men’s basketball team, should it qualify. The Serbians took silver at the Rio Games, where Jokic was held to six points and four rebounds in the final, a 96-66 win for the U.S.
Serbia, with Jokic, lost in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals, allowing Spain and France to take the two automatic European spots in the Olympic field.
Serbia hosts one of the winner-take-all, last-chance Olympic qualifying tournaments in two weeks. The other teams in its tournament are the Dominican Republic, Italy, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
Jokic, a 6-foot-11 center, could have presented problems for the U.S. at the Olympics.
The U.S. is not deep at center. Los Angeles Lakers star big man Anthony Davis is reportedly not expected to make himself available for the Olympics, though he has not made any public statement.
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