Nowitzki will return for 20th season with Dallas

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki poses with his Teammate of the Year award during the inaugural NBA Awards show.
Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki poses with his Teammate of the Year award during the inaugural NBA Awards show.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Dirk Nowitzki will become only the second player to spend 20 National Basketball Association (NBA) seasons with the same team after inking a new deal with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

A statement from the Texas franchise said Nowitzki will join retired Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant as the only other member of the 20-season club when he returns next season.

Earlier on Thursday, US media reported that the German signed a two-year US$10 million (S$13.83 million) contract.

ESPN reported that the Mavs had agreed to the deal after declining to take up a US$25 million team option on Nowitzki, widely regarded as the team's greatest ever player.

Terms of the deal, including the length of the contract, were not officially revealed on Thursday.

There was little doubt that Nowitzki would remain in Dallas after indicating in April he wanted to stay on for at least one more season.

He averaged 14.2 points in 54 games last season, his lowest average since his rookie season of 1998-99 when he contributed 8.2 points per game.

The 39-year-old power forward has appeared in a franchise-record 13 NBA All-Star Games, and earned 12 consecutive All-NBA Team selections (2000-12). He was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2006-07 season and voted MVP of the 2011 NBA Finals.

Nowitzki became only the sixth player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point mark this year when he broke the barrier in March.

He has scored 30,260 points, making him the top foreign scorer in NBA history.

The Mavericks finished outside the eight play-off places in the Western Conference last season. They were 11th with a 33-49 record.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Nowitzki will return for 20th season with Dallas'. Print Edition | Subscribe