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Los Angeles (AP) – It has been nine years since Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were the only German to win the NBA title.
Since Thursday, the chance has increased significantly that there will be a German champion again in the best basketball league in the world in 2021. Because with his move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the champions Los Angeles Lakers, Dennis Schröder has finally arrived in the circle of the greats. At the side of superstars like LeBron James or Anthony Davis, the 27-year-old native of Braunschweig is a very hot contender for the coveted championship ring in the season that starts on December 22nd.
The Lakers announced the transfer, which had been expected at the beginning of the week, on Thursday morning German time after the end of the draft, the annual talent draw. “Welcome to Los Angeles, Dennis Schröder,” tweeted the Glamor Club and already posted a photo of Schröder in the defending champion’s yellow and purple jersey.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson had already expressed his enthusiasm for the signing of Schröder at the beginning of the week, who finished in an impressive second place in the election for the best sixth man in the league last season. “This exchange puts us in a position to repeat that,” wrote Johnson with a view to winning the title again on the transfer on Twitter. The Lakers gave Danny Green and the 28th pick in the draft – a good move by Lakers manager Rob Pelinka, as all experts agree.
The Lakers had already shown an interest in the German top player before last season. The fact that he recently gave the impression that he did not want to leave Thunder at all does not matter because of the laws in US sports – if two clubs agree, players have to change jerseys. Few professionals have clauses in their contracts that exclude this. “Yes, I have received offers”, Schröder said just a few days ago in the Magenta Sport “Basketball Department” podcast about past inquiries. “But I never wanted to go to the Lakers, the Clippers, or all the names that called my agent.”
Nevertheless, Schröder also knows that the Lakers are a great opportunity for him. Since that summer, the father of two and his family in Oklahoma had been very comfortable and, above all, had a very good relationship with General Manager Sam Presti. But in order to fulfill his dream of the title, Los Angeles is a huge number for the ambitious Schröder.
“If he even comes close to building on his strong performances from last season, then he will also help the Lakers a lot,” said national coach Henrik Rödl. “The Lakers are definitely a great thing for him. Playing with the reigning NBA champion now is a great opportunity for Dennis, “said Rödl – even if there is a high risk that Rödl will have to do without his point guard at the Olympic qualifying tournament next summer because he is still with the Lakers plays for the title.
For Schröder it is the third NBA club since his debut for the Atlanta Hawks in 2013. After five years in Georgia, he joined the Thunder and was no longer a starting player, but learned a lot from Chris Paul and improved his values in all areas. In Oklahoma, Schröder, who has been the sole owner of Bundesliga club Löwen Braunschweig since this season, still had a contract until 2021 that guaranteed him a salary of 15 million US dollars (around 12.7 million euros). The Lakers take care of that and, according to reports, want to offer him a big new contract afterwards.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201119-99-385238 / 5