Dirk Nowitzki Announces Return to Mavericks for 20th NBA Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2017

BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 19:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in action against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 19, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  The Mavs defeated the Nets 111-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki announced Thursday he'll return to the team for a 20th season, according to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com.

Nowitzki left open the possibility he could continue playing beyond next season, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News:

It isn't surprising Nowitzki will return for another season, as he told Michael Lee of The Vertical in March that his love of the game and the grind hasn't waned yet:

You've still got to enjoy the grind. Sometimes it's tough. If you don't like the lifting and all the practicing, or the extra shots, I might as well retire. I still love the game. The practices. The weightlifting sessions in the summer, when you're on vacation, all of that gets a little old. Once the game starts and the fans, that'll always be fun. So I'm going to do it as long as my health holds up. And we'll see how long it goes.

Nowitzki, 38, has spent his entire career with the Mavs and is the most decorated player in the organization's history. He's a 13-time All-Star and was the 2006-07 NBA MVP. He led the Mavericks to a title in the 2010-11 season over LeBron James and the Miami Heat, winning MVP honors in that series.

He's the Mavericks' all-time leader in career points, three-point field goals, free throws and rebounds. He led Dallas to a string of 11 straight 50-win seasons between 2000 and 2011 and has made 15 total playoff appearances. 

For nearly two decades, Nowitzki has been the face of the franchise, but his impact on the NBA continues to be felt as well, as he was one of the original stretch-4 power forwards. Few players could offer both finesse and the ability to bang on the boards like Nowitzki, a rare 7'0" player who also had three-point range. His success also paved the way for more international talents to find success in the NBA. 

As for next season, the Mavericks will be built around a core of Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, Seth Curry and whomever the team selects with its first-round pick in this year's draft. The Mavericks are also always a candidate to add an impact player in free agency. That group, if it can stay healthy, will be in the running for a playoff berth.