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Nikola Jokic, NBA MVP, will not play Olympics for Serbia, reports say

Denver Nuggets v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 16: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at TD Garden on February 16, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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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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