Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Denver Nuggets' big man and back-to-back NBA MVP, Nikola Jokic, will play for the Serbian national team in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and the EuroBasket, as soon as he can, the Basketball Federation of Serbia, KSS, announced Wednesday.

Per the announcement, Serbia head coach Svetislav Pesic and national team director Dragan Tarlac have been closely following the players likely to join the squad. 

NBA players have a limit when it comes to the maximum number of days they can spend with the national team during one summer. Hence, the Nuggets allowed Nikola Jokic to represent his country in the World Cup qualification window in August and the subsequent EuroBasket.

In this vein, Jokic will not be present in Serbia's two qualification games against Latvia in Riga on June 30, and against Belgium in Nis on July 3, but he will be joining the squad in the games to follow. 

At the end of August, a new round of qualifications for the World Cup in the newly formed group will take place, where Great Britain, Greece and Turkey will join Belgium, Latvia and Serbia. After that, the 2022 EuroBasket will be hosted in different countries from September 1 to 18, 2022.

Serbia opens Group D play September 2 in Prague against Netherlands. Also in Group D are group hosts Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Israel. The top four teams in each group advance to Round of 16.

"Jokic will be with the national team from the first day when the NBA rules allow it," the Serbian federation maintains.

On the other hand, Bogdan Bogdanovic' situation is different, Tarlac said, as the Atlanta Hawks guard is still recovering from knee surgery and it's uncertain when he'll be able to return to action. Bogdanovic felt a discomfort in his knee and it became more intense at the end of the season. The estimated recovery time might be more than three months.

27-year-old Jokic last played with Serbia at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Serbia were dubbed as favorite to win the trophy, but were eventually upset in the quarterfinals by Argentina. With wins over the United States and Czech Republic, it finished in fifth place.

Jokic was the second-best player on the team behind Bogdan Bogdanovic, averaging 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists over eight games, while shooting 68% from the field.

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