Lakers News: Dennis Schroder Outlines Why He Chose To Sign With Raptors In Free Agency
Dennis Schroder, Lakers, Raptors
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Point guard Dennis Schroder wound up being one of the most integral pieces of the Los Angeles Lakers’ run down the stretch of last season and into the playoffs. Even though he came off the bench for most of it, his speed and aggression on both ends of the floor were absolutely crucial to the success of the team.

While many hoped he would return to the Lakers, Schroder chose to join the Toronto Raptors in free agency, agreeing to a two-year, $25.4 million contract. He is penciled in as the starter in Toronto and is looking forward to starting the next chapter of his career.

As for why he chose to join the Raptors as opposed to staying with the Lakers, Schroder revealed his reasonings in an interview with Malika Andrews on ESPN’s NBA Today. Schroder pointed to the team’s new head coach, whom he has a prior relationship with, as well as the ability to play a style closer to what he does on the international level:

“I think Darko [Rajakovic], the head coach, this is his first year as a head coach as well. I met him five years ago in OKC. We became friends and I liked how he was coaching myself and the team and he called me right away. I definitely said to my agent I wanna be there, I wanna be part of that. I think it’s a great fit just to play like the national team type. Handle the ball a little bit more, go out and run, on the defensive end, active. I think it’s just a great fit.”

As Schroder noted, he spent time with new Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic while he was in Oklahoma City and the guard experienced some of his best individual success during that time. And the ability to be the primary ball-handler is something that just won’t happen with the Lakers.

Schroder’s ability is always on display in international tournaments and he proved it once again during the 2023 FIBA World Cup where he led Germany to the gold medal and brought home tournament MVP honors. Being able to play closer to that level is something he wants to be able to do in the NBA and he believes the Raptors give him the best chance to do that.

Lakers Austin Reaves happy for Dennis Schroder despite Germany defeating Team USA

Of course in order for Schroder to get that gold medal he had to go through Team USA and his former Lakers teammate Austin Reaves in the semifinals to do so. And while Reaves was disappointed in the outcome, there were no hard feelings in the end.

Reaves admitted he was disappointed in Team USA not being able to come out victorious but was extremely happy for Schroder, whom he called family and insisted he has a lot of love for him.

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