The country of Serbia has multiple players in the NBA. The most notable name is Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP and the face of the Denver Nuggets. However, there are also other players from Serbia scattered around the league.
Serbia will be competing in the 2022 EuroBasket and the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, but it seems as though there is an issue. It was recently revealed that Miami Heat center Nikola Jovic and Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Aleksej Pokusevski would be unavailable for the Serbian national team, as their teams want the players to "get ready for the new season". Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net relayed the news.
Nikola Jokic is excited to return to the Serbia national team, but head coach Svetislav Pesic is dealing with other problems heading to the 2022 EuroBasket and the preceding 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
“For [Aleksej] Pokusevski and [Nikola] Jovic, we did not get permission from their teams,” the senior national team selector revealed regarding the players of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, respectively, “The teams want the players to work there and get ready for the new season.”
While Aleksej Pokusevski nor Nikola Jovic are super impactful players for their team as of right now (Jovic mostly because he's a rookie), they would likely have been great additions to the Serbian national team at the international level. Generally, we see NBA players dominate on the international level for their teams.
Hopefully, though, this decision will pay off for both the Thunder and the Heat. There's no doubt that the preparation ahead of the season is important for any player, but it is particularly important for younger players who are still acclimating to the NBA. Perhaps we'll see those players become solid players for their teams this year, and it'll be interesting to track how their development goes.