Nikola Jokic admitted he was close to signing for Barcelona before agreeing a deal with the Nuggets
Could you imagine the NBA without the likes of Nikola Jokic? Well, for sure Giannis Antetokounmpo would’ve already won the Kia MVP award by now, to say the least. The Serbian admitted in a recent interview that he was very close to staying in Europe before signing for Denver.
The two-time NBA MVP and runner-up to win the title for a third consecutive year, said he came very close to sealing a deal with Euroleague’s Barcelona. The Spanish club knocked on the big man’s door first, but as negotiations weren’t flowing as desired, the Nuggets came along and signed him.
Nikola Jokic revealed that he could have ended up at 🇪🇸 Barcelona 😳 pic.twitter.com/qLEHoK6V97
— BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) February 23, 2023
“How the story was told to me, Barcelona stood by and waited a little bit,” Jokic said to Mundo Deportivo’s Toni Canyameras as he asked him to retell the story that happened almost 10 years ago now. “It was a long time ago. I didn’t have a very good game. Actually, I think I had my worst game ever.”
“I was 18 or 19 at that time,” the Joker said smiling. “They just wanted to wait for a couple of months and then the Denver Nuggets showed up. Now I’m here.”
Journalist Canyameras proceded to ask a rather natural question, whether if the Serbian center would consider returning to play in Europe at some point. But to his surprise, Jokic showed no interest.
“I’m not sure I’d like to go back to Europe. I like it here,” said the 29-year-old, who began his career in Mega MIS Belgrade and was drafted in the 2014 NBA Draft with the 41st overall pick by the Colorado team.
Nikola has the opportunity of joining some exclusive record clubs
Jokic is very close to entering highly-prestigious clubs which hold some of the most exclusive records in NBA history. Let’s start by the obvious one, the three-consecutive-MVP club, with only Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as its current members.
Another elite couple of players make up the averaged-a-triple-double club, which includes only two NBA athletes: Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson.
Check out The NBA Today panel discuss the MVP front runners and how Nikola Jokic could win 3 MVPs in a row:
Jokic’s stats are unprecedented, especially for a center position. He’s averaging 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game, on 63% shooting from the field, 39% from 3-point range. Yes, many other basketball greats have scored, assisted, rebounded better and even attempted more efficient shots, yet no one has ever had all those averages in a single campaign.
Other players around the league recognize his greatness. “I can’t lie,” Cleveland star Donovan Mitchell admitted. “I don’t know if you all have been watching what Jokic has been doing. It’s outrageous, to be honest. I don’t know how many people have won it three times in a row. I definitely feel like I’m in that conversation as well, but he’s otherworldly right now.”
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