Misko Raznatovic is one of Europe’s biggest and most influential basketball managers and the owner of both the BeoBasket sports agency and the professional basketball club, Mega Basket. In an interview today with Blic Sport, Raznatovic talked about the upcoming contract negotiations involving his biggest client, Nikola Jokic. The Denver Nuggets can extend Jokic this summer, locking him up in a Nuggets uniform for (up to) five seasons for the price of roughly $146 million.
Their other option is to decline an extension and allow Jokic to play out the final year of his ridiculously cheap $1.6 million rookie-scale contract, saving money on the team’s payroll next season but allowing Jokic to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019-20.
The risk of allowing Jokic to become an unrestricted free agent next summer isn’t worth the cost-saving reward, even if the Nuggets find themselves in a bit of a salary cap pickle this summer. With Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur likely opting in to the final years of their contracts, Denver will probably enter next season over the luxury tax line if they chose to pay Jokic this summer. They would also likely lose out on the chance to re-sign Will Barton. So the temptation to put off paying Jokic until next summer will be there.
But Raznatovic is making it clear that waiting another year would be foolish for the Denver Nuggets.
“According to NBA rules there are no negotiations before July, so until then there are only speculations. Like every agent, I hope the maximum because Nikola certainly deserves it, both in terms of the (dollar amount) and length of the contract. Of course, there is also the possibility that Nikola will not negotiate the change of contract, to stay for the fourth year with a small contract, and then next year be completely free in the choice of a new environment. This is certainly the most unfavorable possible scenario for the Nuggets.”
“The next summer is completely free, but according to Denver’s rules it can offer a little more and a year more than others. But it does not bind him.”
Raznatovic is known as an aggressive agent. His BeoBasket agency represents more Euroleague players than the next two closest competitors combined, a fact that Raznatovic proudly says he “is accustomed to” by now. His NBA client list includes the Philadelphia 76ers’ Dario Saric and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman. However, Jokic is his biggest client and in-line for the largest payday.
In addition to talking about Jokic’s extension, Raznatovic also discussed Jokic’s summer plans which include his training, his horse, and the basketball club Jokic started in his hometown of Sombor, Serbia called “Club Joker.”
“Frankly, I’m not yet familiar with the technical parts of the plan. It’s somehow not my job. The club and the player, and Nikolina’s brother Strahinja has an active role, as well as everything else, that will be agreed upon. It is obvious that last summer they did it in a perfect way, so they got my credit to do this without me this summer.”
“Of course, Nikola will have time for horses, because he simply adores it. To my knowledge, he will invest some time in the further progress of the organization of the Sombor basketball club Džoker, which is increasingly ambitious, and managed by his father Bane.”
You can read the entire interview over at BlicSport. The story is in Serbian and the quotes provided in this column were generated by google translate.
H/T @markomeks for the lead