SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- It appears John Stockton will return for a 19th season with the Utah Jazz.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday that the
40-year-old Stockton, the NBA's all-time assists and steals leader, informed Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan that he will play in 2002-03.
"I've seen how he (Stockton) takes care of himself, so I'm not surprised at all," Sloan told the Tribune.
Stockton signed a two-year contract last summer worth $8 million annually, but was not sure if he wanted to play two more years.
But after averaging 13.4 points -- his highest in five years -- and shooting 52 percent from the field last season, Stockton was expected to return in 2002-03.
Stockton will be counted on to tutor point guard Raul Lopez, the team's first-round pick from Spain's Real Madrid in 2001.
A first-round pick in 1984, Stockton and power forward Karl Malone have been the cornerstones of a franchise that made it to the NBA Finals twice and advanced to the Western Conference finals five times.