NBA: Will a Lakers star soon play for Germany? Dennis Schröder announces conversation

Dennis Schröder plans to celebrate his comeback and debut of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers in the game against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. The 29-year-old confirmed this in an interview with SPOX.

Schröder had to undergo surgery in mid-October for a ligament injury in his thumb. The 29-year-old had previously signed a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Lakers after a strong EuroBasket, for whom he already played in the 2020/21 season.

Schröder should play an important role in the weak start of the Lakers (3-10). In conversation with SPOX the point guard explains the background to his move and defends Russell Westbrook, but he also looks back on a very special summer with the national team and raves about Franz Wagner.

Mr. Schröder, with a little distance, which feelings predominate when you think of the EuroBasket?

Dennis Schroeder: Pride clearly prevails. The fact that we managed to win a medal for Germany again after 17 years – and then at home in front of our own fans – was indescribable. Of course we also know that we could have done better than bronze, the chance was there. But I think you also have to show respect to the Spaniards. In crucial situations, they were there more often than we were. The positive thing is that we will learn from it for the future. If we find ourselves in a situation like this again, we know exactly what we have to do.

How would you describe your personal EuroBasket journey?

Schroeder: I didn’t put any pressure on myself at all. The tournament didn’t start perfectly for me personally because I was injured and didn’t want to throw the shot, but we still managed to win as a team. So I was very calm the whole time. I was also incredibly well supported by the team, everyone was totally behind me and said to me: just keep doing your thing. We really all pulled together. I just worked on my stuff every day and I knew it would pay off later in the tournament. That’s exactly how it happened.

You have totally embraced your role as captain. How much did that mean to you?

Schroeder: Being able to captain the German national team is an unbelievable honor for me. Robin Benzing has fulfilled the captain’s office very well over the years and laid the foundation, Robin must never be forgotten in the whole thing. Nevertheless, I was of course extremely happy when the national coach called me and told me that I should be his captain. When I was young, I would never have dreamed of being captain of the German national team and experiencing that feeling. This is madness. I enjoyed the time very much and I would like to be captain of this team for a longer time. I want to keep doing everything I can to be a good leader. The bronze medal was not bad to start with, but we want to achieve even more in the future.

Dennis Schröder: “My goal was to give a lot back to Germany”

Do you have the feeling that this tournament has changed the relationship between basketball Germany and you? In the past you were always viewed more critically, now all that was forgotten.

Schroeder: I believe that at the end of the day, victories and achievements are key to perception. We won bronze at this European Championship and made history, so of course the fans are happy too. But I do think that through this European Championship everyone understood what I stand for and what I’m willing to give up everything for the national team. My goal was to give a lot back to Germany at this tournament, and I think I did quite well.

What was the moment of the tournament that you will never forget?

Schroeder: Clearly the moment when I had the bronze medal around my neck. In this moment you think back to the whole summer. We had so many ups and downs, so many injuries. It’s really remarkable that we’ve made it this far, we never would have thought it before. I will never forget this summer for the rest of my life.

You have already indicated that Germany now have a team, even if you see who was not there, that we can count on in the future.

Schroeder: Our goal must be to win even more medals in the coming years. We have the team for it. We have a lot of young talents who are very advanced and only getting better, but we also have experienced guys who play a big role in the Euroleague. And we have the NBA players. We really have a good chance of winning a few more medals in the next few years. Maybe even more than bronze. (laughs)

Dennis Schroeder: Coach Ham? “A matter of the heart”

Then, in the middle of the European Championship, the news burst in that you were going back to the Lakers. How did that happen?

Schroeder: I spoke to the Lakers before the EM. The Lakers have been an option all along, especially since they signed Darvin Ham as their new head coach. He was my assistant coach in my first year in Atlanta, and since then we’ve had a very close bond that hasn’t broken in the nine years since. Playing for him is a matter close to my heart.

Wasn’t it difficult that it took so long?

Schroeder: Many have asked me if it didn’t bother me, but I really felt relaxed the whole time. I knew there were a few offers on the table so I wasn’t worried. I just wanted to focus 100 percent on the national team. And after I wasn’t at the Olympics, I really wanted to show everyone that I was there for the national team even without an NBA contract. That was important to me.

What role did LeBron James play in your move?

Schroeder: I spoke to LeBron beforehand, of course. As I said, the coach was very important to me, but the chance to play with LeBron again, but also with Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook, was very tempting. It’s a great honor for me to be on the field with these guys. Even if the start of the season wasn’t good, I’m convinced that we have a good team when everyone is fit.

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