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The Denver Nuggets will decline their team option with center Nikola Jokic, according to a report.
Gina Mizell of The Denver Post reports the Nuggets are declininf the option with their franchise big man in order to re-sign him to a maximum-salary deal this summer, which is something Jokic’s representatives have been angling for since early May.
Also in this story: According to league source, as of Sunday morning the #Nuggets had not yet declined 2018-19 team option for Nikola Jokic but "will" do so, which will make him a restricted free agent and then eligible to sign a max deal with Denver. https://t.co/5g9TjbYVuz
— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) June 24, 2018
Jokic’s agent told the team earlier this year that picking up his option would be a problem if the team had thoughts of signing his client to a long-term deal.
Nikola Jokic’s agent says picking up the player’s option and letting Jokic become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 would be an unfavorable scenario for Nuggets. This is not a warning. It’s common sense. Denver won’t pass up the chance to lock Jokic up. Writing is on the wall.
— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) May 3, 2018
On top of that, if Denver were to pick up the option on Jokic’s deal, it would make him an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Jokic, 23, will be eligible to sign a five-year, $146.45 million deal with the Nuggets if his option is declined and he becomes a free agent.
“Nikola’s going to be here for a long, long time,” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said after the draft Thursday night. “I think whatever we do, we’re going to ensure he’s here as long as possible.
“When that moment happens, we’re going to talk to Nikola and his brothers and his representation. He’ll be in Denver for a long, long time. He’ll be buying (a home) here.”
In his third season in the league, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Jokic averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 32.6 minutes in 75 games for the Nuggets, shooting 49.9 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from deep.