NBA: German star Nowitzki eyes 20th season

Dallas Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki plans to extend his remarkable NBA career into a 20th season at the age of 39.

Nowitzki, who signed a two-year contract last year, told ESPN's TrueHoop Conversations podcast he planned to honor the deal and play until just shy of his 40th birthday, despite an injury-disrupted 2016-2017 campaign.

The towering German star, the 2007 NBA Most Valuable Player and 2011 NBA Finals MVP, is under contract to earn $25 million by playing next season.

Asked if he expected to return next year, Nowitzki said: "I think so ... unless something drastic changes here in the next few weeks or the last few weeks of the season, which I don't anticipate.

"I said last summer: I signed a two-year deal (and) that obviously meant I want to play for two more. I want to complete that deal."

Nowitzki is the league's sixth all-time leading scorer and is closing in on becoming only the sixth player ever to reach the 30,000-points mark.

Nowitzki played in only six of the Mavs' opening 29 games this season after an Achilles problem. He is averaging 13.6 and 6.4 rebounds over 34 games.

If he returns for a 20th season, Nowitzki would match the record set by Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who played 20 seasons with one franchise before retiring last year.

"Twenty is a great number," Nowitzki said. "I think 20 seasons also with one team, like I'm trying to do it -- I think only Kobe has done it -- that's another great accomplishment. So I kind of want to make the 20 fold. Plus that summer I'm turning 40. I think that's also a good number to be in the league ... from 20 to 40.

"That's what I'm looking at. Hopefully I'll finish this season out strong, and then have a decent year, hopefully not as (many) injuries next year."