The two will be chosen in a special third round of the All-Star draft, which will be held next Thursday. Captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will pick from the pool of All-Star starters in the first round, All-Star reserves in the second round and then Wade and Nowitzki in the third round.
"As a global celebration of basketball, our All-Star Game is an ideal setting to salute these first-class NBA champions and Finals MVPs," Silver said in a statement.
Wade, a Miami Heat mainstay, has said this will be his final season, calling this year "one last dance."
"I appreciated my fans for voting for me, but I didn't want to be put in position to take a roster spot from someone who's getting their first opportunity to go to the All-Star Game or their second or third," Wade said. "I've had 12 chances at it. For the commissioner to create that opportunity for Dirk and myself, it's cool. I appreciate it more getting in this way, so I'll be there."
Nowitzki, the leading scorer in NBA history among foreign-born players, has suited up this year for a record 21st season with one franchise, the Dallas Mavericks. Unlike Wade, Nowitzki has not publicly stated whether this is his final season.
The 40-year-old German now comes off the bench for the Mavs and is averaging career lows of 4.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Wade, 37, is averaging 13.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game as he continues to contribute for the Heat as a reserve.
The two have twice faced off in the NBA Finals, with Wade's Heat winning in 2006 and Nowitzki's Mavs claiming the title in 2011.
"I'm glad I can share this opportunity with Dirk, one of the game's greatest players, someone that I've had battles against,'' Wade said. "It's only right.''
"We've been competing together for a long, long time," Nowitzki said of Wade while appearing on ESPN's The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe. "I think this is special for both of us."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who is planning a beach getaway over the All-Star break and wasn't thinking about watching the All-Star matchup, said he might have to amend his plans and be in front of a television for the game.
"I thought it was great,'' Spoelstra said of Silver's gesture. "Very cool.''
James has the top pick in the third round, which will be the one that includes Nowitzki and Wade -- his former teammate in Miami, close friend and fellow 2003 draft alum.
"He better pick me,'' Wade said.
The 2019 NBA All-Star Game will be played Sunday, Feb. 17, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.