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Dirk Nowitzki officially returns to Mavericks for 21st season

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki is coming back to Dallas for a 21st season. | Frank Franklin II/AP Photo

DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki is officially signed for a record 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks announced Monday that they had re-signed the 13-time All-Star. That was their plan when they declined a team option on Nowitzki’s contract at the start of free agency to create more room under the salary cap before signing DeAndre Jordan.

Nowitzki, a former NBA MVP who turned 40 last month, is set to become the first player in NBA history to play 21 consecutive seasons for the same franchise. The 7-foot German is one of six players overall, and the only international player, with more than 30,000 career points.

His $5 million contract is the same amount he would have been guaranteed for 2018-19 for the second season of a two-year deal signed last summer.

The Mavericks acquired Nowitzki in a draft day trade on June 24, 1998 after he was picked ninth overall by the Bucks. He was a full-time starter by his second season and has played 1,616 games (regular season plus playoffs) in a Dallas uniform.

The Sun-Times added to this report.