Nuggets interested in Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic –


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

The 2022 NBA Draft is less than 24 hours away, and rumors, trades, and rumors are flying left and right.

The Nuggets haven’t been the focus of many pre-draft rumors, but on Wednesday night, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer dropped a couple of Denver-related tidbits. Focus? Base, where the Nuggets were named as suitors for Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic.

“Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic is still a hot name in the trading market. OKC has their draft rights, and Nikola Jokic has been said to be a driving factor in Denver’s interest in winning the EuroLeague MVP. San Antonio, Milwaukee and Chicago have also been mentioned as legitimate suitors.”


Some notes:

First, Vasilije Micic is an elite international player. As Fischer mentioned, he won 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 ranked third in points scored and fifth in total assists. He is 6’5″ and has both scoring and playing traits that project him to play a combo guard role at the NBA level. He’ll probably be a good defender in the NBA, but it’s not a skill of his that stands out.

Second, Micic’s rights are owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if Micic wants to come over and play with Denver, the Nuggets would have to do other trade with Sam Presti and the Thunder. Giving Presti additional draft capital seems like a bad idea, since the Nuggets have already set up their 2023 first-round pick and 2027 first-round pick on the OKC road. Perhaps this trade would be less expensive for Denver, but there is still a cost. Micic is not a traditional free agent.

Third, there is the contract. Supposedly, Micic would want more than a minimum contract to come to the NBA, but the Nuggets have limited flexibility this offseason. Denver has the mid-tier exception of contributors 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, it limits what they can give to other free agents. While there is some merit in pairing Micic with Nikola Jokić and pairing two Serbian MVPs, the Nuggets have to think about maxing out their roster this year so they apply more pressure to every decision. Denver cannot launch its MLE taxpayer lightly.

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

Still, is this an opportunity GM Calvin Booth is willing to take? Is Micic the Correct chance to take advantage of this offseason with Denver needing perimeter defense so badly? Can Denver even get the rights to Micic from Oklahoma City for a reasonable price?

These are all fair questions that make me a little skeptical about this matchup between Micic and the Nuggets. Denver already has Jamal Murray, Monte Morris and Bones Hyland to play point guard, but in the same article, Fischer names Morris as a point guard “said to be available” on the trade market this offseason.

Denver may need another capable ball handler at some point, so it’s not a far-fetched claim that Micic could come in and immediately be a useful player. Cost is cost, though, and the Nuggets would have to balance that against what they would actually get with Micic on the roster.