Nuggets star Nikola Jokic on retiring in Denver: “That’s the goal.”


Nikola Jokic didn’t waste any time feeding Jamal Murray.

“Hand me a grape, bro,” Murray exhorted the NBA’s two-time reigning Most Valuable Player once he’d spotted the small buffet to the right of the stage at the front of the Nuggets’ interview room at Ball Arena.

The Joker had already beaten him to it, bouncing off the dais and surveying the wares before hopping back up onto the stage with grapes in hand.

“Thanks,” Murray said.

Just like old times.

As for the Nuggets’ eight new players …

“Of course, they have some experience, they can help us,” Jokic noted later. “Of course, everybody has different (skills) and different gadgets that can help us.”

Murray burst out laughing.

“Like that, Jok!” the Nuggets guard guffawed. “Yeah. Yeah. ‘Gadgets.’”

So, yeah. The Joker and the Blue Arrow’s give and go? Good to go.

Seriously, though, Nikola. About that 5-year, $264-million supermax deal …

“Like I said, I wanted to be the Tim Duncan of the Denver Nuggets,” Jokic said during the team’s pre-training camp media day when asked about his historic extension.

“I like the city. I like the organization. I really enjoy it here.”

Enough to retire here? As a Nugget?

Cue the serious look.

“I don’t want to say, ‘Yes,’ and then something happens, (Nuggets director of media relations) Nick (O’Hayre) throws something at me and I say I’m going to quit,” the MVP replied. “But that’s the goal.”

In terms of team goals he’s putting in front of his superstar, Nuggets coach Michael Malone didn’t mince words. Better defense and a louder — consistently louder — voice from Jokic both in the locker room and in the huddle.

“Nikola and I have a relationship where we can talk openly and honestly to each other and I can challenge him about whatever he needs to be challenged on,” Malone said Monday morning.


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