(Editor’s Note, June 7: This story has been updated with a human translation in place of the original Google translation. — Eric)
Siniša Kovačević, the director of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national basketball team, highlighted Nurkic’s free agency as a hang-up on his eligibility to play for his country in 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifications, but also mentioned Nurkic has “has an agreement already in place” on his new contract and can sign it when free agency starts July 1 (huge thanks to Filip Zivkovic for the translation, story on the national team’s website):
“We pretty much knew that (Nurkic) is not going to play in June and July because he doesn’t have the signed (guaranteed) contract in NBA league. He has an agreement already in place, however he doesn’t have it signed, therefore he doesn’t have it guaranteed. All of that will be resolved in July when he signs the contract, which will be too late for him to join the team. This is the common practice when it comes to European players in the NBA” Kovačević said and added: “Nurkic told the National Team Coach during the meeting that he wants to play for the national team when he has the contract signed with the NBA team. With that being said, if the national team gets through this qualifying cycle, he could play as early as September, because the NBA season doesn’t start until October. Nurkic would be unavailable for the games in November and February because NBA is in season during that time.”
A story posted two days later by rtvbn.com quotes Duško Vujošević, the national team’s coach, with no mention of a possible deal Nurkic has in place, saying he’s waiting for July 1 to begin free agency and field offers like any other free agent:
Vujošević met with Yusuf Nurkić in Belgrade.
“I had a conversation with Nurkic and I am very happy with it. Jusuf has the desire to play for BiH national team, but we cannot count on him in this campaign. Nurkic’s contract in the NBA is expiring and he is in the situation where he will have to wait on offers from the teams, and that process won’t start until July. Therefore, it is neither realistic nor humane to expect that he will play during that time and risk the injury in a situation when he has put himself in position to ensure his livelihood”.
The information is murky, as the Bosnian basketball director and the team’s coach seem to have differing information about Nurkic’s status. It’s unclear if the president is revealing privileged information about Nurkic’s contract negotiations, or if the labyrinthine intricacies of the NBA’s free agent process have been lost in translation.