It's been another tough season for the Dallas Mavericks, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight season. This will mark the first time since 1998-2000 that the Mavs have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. In addition, the organization has been embroiled in a massive scandal relating to sexual harassment and domestic violence in the workplace.
But there was a bit of good news on the basketball side of things on Tuesday, as Dirk Nowitzki told Marc Stein that he's planning to return to the team next season. Nowitzki, who turns 40 in June, has spent all 20 of his NBA seasons with the Mavs, leading them to the 2011 NBA title. Via the New York Times:
It won't be official until some point in the off-season, after Nowitzki steps away next month for a telling round of consultation with his wife Jessica and Geschwindner as well as a thorough evaluation of his health. Yet all signs point to a 21st consecutive season with the Mavericks, the only N.B.A. team he's known.
"As of now, I'm planning to come back," said Nowitzki, who turns 40 on June 19. "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."
Nowitzki, of course, is no longer the player he once was, but can still be a useful player off the bench in short stints with his ability to knock down open jumpers. But at this point, Nowitzki's presence as a veteran and a leader in the locker room is more important than what he does on the floor.
Having Nowitzki back for another season, even if he's just a glorified assistant coach at that point, will be quite valuable for the Mavericks as they continue their rebuild.