Nuggets interested in Serbian playmaker Vasilije Micic –

April 24, 2022; Denver, Colorado, United States; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) outperforms Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) in the first quarter of the first round for the 2022 NBA Playoffs at the Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There are less than 24 hours to go until the 2022 NBA Draft and rumors, exchanges and scuttlebuts fly left and right.

The Nuggets weren’t the focus of many rumors leading up to the draft, but Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer dropped a couple of Denver-related treats on Wednesday night. The focus? point guard, where the Nuggets were named suitors of Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic.

“Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic remains a hot name on the commercial market. OKC holds his draft rights and Nikola Jokic is said to be a driving factor in Denver’s interest in securing the EuroLeague MVP. San Antonio, Milwaukee and Chicago have also been cited as legitimate suitors ”.

Some notes:

First of all, Vasilije Micic is an elite international player. As Fischer hinted, he won the EuroLeague MVP during the 2020-21 season for Anadolu Efes, averaging 16.7 points, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.0 minutes per game. During the 2021-22 season, he finished third for total points scored and fifth for total assists. He is 6’5 ″ tall and has both scoring and directing traits that propel him into an NBA-level combo guard role. He’ll probably be a very good defender in the NBA, but that’s not his skill to write home about.

Second, Micic’s rights are owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if Micic wants to come and play with Denver, the Nuggets should make it other trade with Sam Presti and the Thunder. Giving Presti even more draft fairness seems like a bad idea, as the Nuggets have already set their 2023 first-round pick and OKC’s 2027 first-round pick. Perhaps this exchange would be less expensive for Denver, but there is still a cost. Micic is not a traditional free agent.

Third, there is the contract. Presumably Micic would like more than a minimum contract to come to the NBA, but the Nuggets have limited flexibility this off-season. Denver has the mid-tier exception of taxpayers to work with, but that’s the only way they can sign any player for more than the minimum. If the Nuggets give that money (or part of it) to Micic, that limits what they can give to other free agents. While there is merit in pairing Micic with Nikola Jokić and joining two Serbian MVPs, the Nuggets need to think about maximizing their roster this year in ways that apply more pressure to every decision. Denver cannot take their MLE taxpayer lightly.

Fourth, the Nuggets have just had a two-year experience with a former EuroLeague star at Facundo Campazzo. There were some good times with Campazzo at NBA level, but in the end the signing proved disappointing as opponents started getting an NBA scouting report on point guard of 5’9 ″. Micic could be completely different from Campazzo, and his height at 6’5 ″ and his shot are key differences.

However, is this a possibility that CEO Calvin Booth is willing to take? Micic is the Right chance to take this off-season with Denver needing perimeter defense so badly? Can Denver also get Micic rights from Oklahoma City for a reasonable price?

These are all fair questions that make me a little skeptical about this meeting between Micic and the Nuggets. Denver already has Jamal Murray, Monte Morris and Bones Hyland to play in the point guard position, but in the same article Fischer names Morris as a point guard who is “rumored to be available” on the commercial market this off-season.

Denver may need another skilled ball manager at some point, so it’s not a wild claim that Micic could come and be a useful player immediately. Cost is cost, however, and the Nuggets should balance that against what they would actually get with Micic on the roster.

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