Dirk Nowitzki will break Kobe Bryant's record for most consecutive years spent with one franchise in NBA history.
Dirk Nowitzki will ride into the sunset in record-breaking fashion.
Unsurprisingly, Nowitzki has signed on for his 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks, the only franchise he’s ever played for in his Hall of Fame-worthy career, which will break Kobe Bryant’s record for most consecutive years with one team in NBA history.
It’s also likely to be the 40-year-old’s final season before hanging it up and he’s prepared to play in a reserve role, according to the New York Times, who reported Nowitzki’s one-year deal to be valued at $5 million.
Though he’s remained a regular starter throughout the years, Nowitzki has already accepted a reduced role, with his minutes per game dropping each of the past three seasons. Last year, he averaged 24.7 minutes – the lowest mark since his rookie campaign – while averaging 12.0 points.
Nowitzki, who is considered one of the greatest shooters in league history, especially for a 7-footer, has remained an efficient marksman, shooting 45.6 per cent from the field and 40.9 per cent on 3-pointers last season.
Where his skills have diminished have been as a scorer at the rim and a primary threat. He’s no longer the go-to option he once was, with his quickness and athleticism significantly sapped at the tail-end of his career.
Nowitzki has been content to remain the face of the franchise despite their descent since breaking through with a title in 2011. Dallas have made the playoffs four times in the past seven years and failed to win their first-round series all four occasions.
This past season, the Mavericks won just 24 games, their fewest since Nowitzki’s rookie year when they went 19-31 in 1998-99.
While they’ll struggle to reach the postseason this coming season in what looks to be a loaded Western Conference, they should be better after adding DeAndre Jordan in free agency and Luka Doncic through the draft.
Nowitzki probably won’t get to compete for a title one last time, but he should pass Wilt Chamberlain as the league’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 233 needed points to move up on the list.