Dirk Nowitzki turns 40 in June and next season would be his 21st in the NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki told Marc Stein of The New York Times that he plans on returning to the Mavericks next season to play a 21st season in the NBA.
"As of now, I'm planning to come back," Nowitzki told Stein. "I feel great. I've only missed one game all season. I signed a two-year contract because I wanted to play two more years. Here we are."
Nowitzki, who will turn 40 in June, has played 72 games in his 20th season in Dallas. He is averaging 24.8 minutes per game, just a bit down from the 26.4 minutes he averaged last season while only playing in 54 games.
The 13-time All-Star was selected by the Bucks with the No. 9 pick in the 1998 draft, and traded to the Mavericks that same day. He led the team to the Finals in 2006 and again in 2011, when Dallas captured its first championship in team history and Nowitzki was named Finals MVP. He earned the regular-season MVP for the 2006-07 season after averaging 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists for a 67-win team.
Nowitzki is the franchise leader in games, minutes, field goals, free throws, three-pointers, rebounds, blocks and points, and he is also second in steals and fourth in assists.
If Nowitzki does return to Dallas for a 21st year, he would set the NBA record for most seasons with one team for a career. The record is currently held by Kobe Bryant, who spent 20 years with the Lakers.
Nowitzki and Vince Carter, the No. 5 pick in the 1998 draft, would both match Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett and Kevin Willis for the most ever NBA seasons played regardless of franchise if they come back next season.