Dallas Mavericks lifer Dirk Nowitzki is coming back for a 21st NBA season. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the 40-year old forward is expected to sign a one-year $5 million deal, making him the first NBA player to play 21 consecutive seasons with the same team. Nowitzki was previously tied with Kobe Bryant, who played 20 seasons all with the Los Angeles Lakers. Ironically, both were traded to their respective teams on draft night.

Nowitzki was selected ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1998 NBA Draft but was traded to the Mavs that same night. In the draft, the Mavericks selected Robert Traylor with their sixth pick, and the Bucks selected Nowitzki with their ninth and Pat Garrity with their nineteenth pick. The Mavericks then traded Traylor to the Bucks for Nowitzki and Garrity, and they in return traded the latter to the Phoenix Suns for their backup point guard, Steve Nash.

Last season with the Mavs, Dirk appeared in 77 of 82 games and averages 12 points and 5.7 rebounds, the lowest totals since his rookie year. Dallas finished the 2017-18 season with a 24-58 record and traded up to select 19-year old Slovenian super star Luka Doncic with the third pick in the Draft. Like Doncic, Nowitzki played professionally overseas before making the leap to the NBA and he'll be a crucial piece to helping the young guard adjust to life in the NBA. 

Dirk - a former MVP, NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP and future Hall of Famer - enters the 2018-19 season just 233 points away from passing Wilt Chamberlain for fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list.