Dirk Nowitzki on possible 21st NBA season: “As of now, I’m planning to come back”

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The NBA record is 20 seasons playing for one team, held by Kobe Bryant with the Lakers.

Dirk Nowitzki plans to beat it.

The future Hall of Famer has one more season on the two-year, $10 million contract he signed with Dallas last summer, and he has said all along he probably will play out that deal then walk away into a beautiful German sunset. He’s said this pretty consistently, and Nowitzki reiterated it to Marc Stein of the New York Times in the writer’s weekly email newsletter (which you should sign up for). Stein gets into Nowitzki’s gamble to get into the NBA, but ends with this quote.

“As of now, I’m planning to come back,” said Nowitzki, who turns 40 on June 19. “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. And here we are.”

It’s really just a matter of whether Nowitzki wants to put in the work to get his body ready for one more season. At his age, that’s a lot more effort, but he sounds up for it.

Nowitzki is still a good player — 12.2 points per game but at a very efficient true shooting percentage of 57.9, and he has an above average PER of 16.9 — but he is no longer the dominant force he once was. He has found a role as the sage veteran on a rebuilding team where Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes are the future. If Nowitzki returns for another season, he will have as big a send-off as he wants in every city, and the Mavs will sell out their building with people wanting to see the greatest European player in NBA history — and the best shooting big man the league has ever seen — one last time.