After winning his first NBA title, Nikola Jokic isn’t a certainty to represent Serbia this summer in the FIBA World Cup, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Vardon hears from an international source that Jokic has a family celebration scheduled during World Cup play, which will take place from August 25 through September 10, leaving his playing status unclear.
Vardon adds that Serbia received a favorable draw in the tournament and appears to have a relatively easy path to a quarterfinals matchup with Team USA. Jokic was part of the team that defeated the Americans in the 2019 World Cup.
Vardon also questions whether Jokic will want to commit to another intense competition after a long NBA season and a two-month playoff run with the Nuggets. The tournament will end roughly two weeks before the traditional start of NBA training camps.
There’s more World Cup news to pass along:
- Bam Adebayo may also need a break after helping the Heat reach the NBA Finals, Vardon adds. Adebayo played for Team USA two years ago and is expected to be part of the 2024 Olympics squad, so he may consider opting out this summer.
- Team USA reached out to Raptors guard Fred VanVleet to see if he’s interested in joining them for the World Cup, a source tells Vardon. The veteran free agent has never taken part in a World Cup or Olympics competition.
- Nuggets guard Jamal Murray made a three-year commitment to Team Canada, but his long postseason run and his injury history may put his World Cup status in doubt, according to Vardon.
- Jazz center Walker Kessler has agreed to join the Americans in the World Cup, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The first-team All-Rookie selection was originally asked to be part of the Select Team that will scrimmage against Team USA, but he received a promotion, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).
- Mavericks big man Dwight Powell is optimistic about Canada’s chances in the tournament, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. With 22 players on NBA rosters at the start of the season, Canada has a rich talent pool available. “Gold medal,” Powell replied when asked what would constitute a successful tournament. “That’s always the goal. (However), the World Cup is a stacked tournament. We got to be ready for everybody.”
- The deadline to submit World Cup rosters is in late August, and the Australians are willing to wait as long as it takes to see if the Nets‘ Ben Simmons is available, according to a NetsDaily story. Simmons is working out with teammates in Miami and trying to overcome the nerve impingement that ended his season in mid-February.