While one should always leave open the possibility of a last-second change of heart, it appears that Dirk Nowitzki will be returning for the 2018-19 NBA season, which would mark his 21st in the league. Nowitzki stated as much in a New York Times article.
“As of now, I’m planning to come back,” the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer told Marc 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. And here we are.”
For those wondering, Nowitzki was referring to a 2018-19 team option that would allow him to return for year two of a contract he signed last July.
Nowitzki, who turns 40 in June, has played in 72 games this season, and has racked up averages of 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per night, while also playing 24.8 minutes per game. His various shooting percentages also line up well with his career marks.
As pointed out by Sports Illustrated, Nowitzki is the Mavs' career record holder for a whole buttload of categories, including: games, minutes, field goals, free throws, three-pointers, rebounds, blocks, and points. While not as impressive as being the franchise leader, he's also second in steals and fourth in assists.
He also sits a mere 281 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list, and 1,152 points short of Michael Jordan for fourth entering Tuesday night's game.
If Dirk does come back for year 21, that would bust Kobe's record of most seasons with a single team. Along with Vince Carter (who will also have to decide on whether he's returning or not), he could also have a four/five-way tie with Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett, and Kevin Willis for most seasons played in the NBA.