Mavs’ Nowitzki: Retirement decision based on health

Dirk Nowitzki is back, as he played six minutes setting a new NBA record for 21 years with the same team on Thursday night

Future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Dirk Nowitzki re-signed with the Dallas Mavericks this summer on a two-year, $10 million deal to remain with the only franchise he has played for since coming over from Germany back in 1998.

By playing one more year with the Mavs, Nowitzki will join Kobe Bryant as the only two players in league history to spend 20 seasons with the same team, a truly remarkable accomplishment given how loyalty in the NBA has diminished over time.

Nowitzki averaged 14.2 points per game last season, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 37.8 percent beyond the arc. The sharpshooter did deal with an Achilles issue that he needed two months to recover from, but says he’s feeling great and ready to start the new year.

“It’s been a long summer, way too long,” Nowitzki said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve been busting my butt trying to get ready, get in game shape. I’ve progressed well and I’m looking forward to camp and playing with some of those new guys.”

Nowitzki has not made a decision about when he will retire, as he will first monitor how his health holds up.

“I don’t anticipate any problems,” Nowitzki said. “But you know, at 39, I guess anything is possible. If I miss another 30 to 40 games in a row, then obviously, it’s not meant to be.

“But if I can stay sort of healthy like I did at the end of the season, when I thought I moved OK and had some good games, then maybe we’ll do two more [seasons]. But we’ll see how it goes.”