Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets faced a fascinating dilemma with star forward Nikola Jokic, and they’ve wisely decided on the safe route instead of the cost-effective one.

According to Shams Charania of Yahoo, the Nuggets plan to decline their team option on Jokic. That will make him a restricted free agent this summer, but it will allow them to sign “The Joker” to a five-year, $146.5 million max contract.

This might’ve been a tough decision for Denver, which could’ve picked up that option and only paid Jokic, a second-round pick in 2015, $1.6 million in 2018-19. No NBA star player would come at a better bargain.

However, doing so would’ve meant Jokic entered unrestricted free agency next summer. While the Nuggets could’ve offered him more money than any other team, there would be the possibility he leaves anyway.

And that’s not a risk worth taking.

Jokic averaged career-high marks of 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.2 steals last season. He shot 39.6 from three-point range and 49.9 overall.

David Kenyon
Writer for Sportsnaut and Bleacher Report, mostly covering college football as well as the NFL, NBA and college basketball.