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Life as a professional basketball player in the USA is tough. For example, the fact that the NBA is also very busy over the holidays. This is nothing new for Dennis Schröder, he's been doing the job for a few years now, but this time around Christmas things are going differently. Schröder moved to Los Angeles with his family because he's now a real Laker. And he has just played his first two games of the new season with his new club.

After losing to the Clippers at the start before Christmas, the German international was now able to celebrate his first victory. It was a clear sign from the Lakers that they are even a little stronger with Schröder than they were when they won the title. At 138: 115 against the Dallas Mavericks there was a reunion with his national team colleague Maxi Kleber - but Schröder's convincing performance again was much more important: 18 points with a well-tempered throw selection, plus six assists, that put him in a good mood.

Schröder is still getting used to one in California, but it is already evident that it would make sense for him and his club to extend his one-year contract early. In any case, the Braunschweig resident was delighted with his new surroundings. If it were up to him, his involvement in LA could take longer, although shortly before his arrival from Oklahoma six weeks ago, he had expressed doubts about the change. Schröder originally wanted to stay with Thunder, but when the trade was decided, he had no say in accordance with the regulations. Well, the Lakers, there are worse things.

Schröder beckons the thickest contract in his professional life

After the Dallas game, Schröder praised the "great organization" in Los Angeles and the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James. A fact that guarantees him the best possible chances of winning the title - and if certain requirements are met, a lot of money as an addition. "I would definitely like to extend it," announced the 27-year-old on the traditional Christmas game day at home in LA. He had never been heard so aggressively before.

"I'd love to do it, but it has to be fair to both sides. That's all I say about it." In this case, fair means: with handsome wages, because Schröder will have the unique opportunity to sign a contract as a free agent in the coming year, which will bring him a maximum salary. So there are many millions of dollars involved, but not all of them.

After the swap deal with his ex-club Oklahoma, he only has one year of contract with the Lakers on paper. So he wanted to do it himself, in order to soon negotiate a new, higher-endowed contract for the future. After the current season, Schröder's current working paper will expire, by then at the latest it should be payday. As usual in the NBA, Schröder is playing poker, according to a report by the sports broadcaster ESPN don't accept the first best offer from the Lakers for a two-year contract - he wants more. At 27, in terms of age and performance, he is at the point in his career where he can make demands himself.

With patience and a little negotiating skills, he could soon cash in on it. And that - the decisive, other point - with excellent sporting prospects: In mid-February, the Lakers would be able to raise $ 83.3 million for four years in order to retain Schröder for the long term, i.e. for four or five years. If it comes to that, it would be by far the thickest contract in his professional life.

This is probably one of the reasons why the German recently switched to the charm offensive at the traditional club and defending champion. "My teammates are great, the people here do everything for you and your family," enthused Schröder. "In this environment you can just concentrate on playing basketball," said the playmaker about his first few weeks in LA.

"We are thrilled that we have him here," says Lakers coach Frank Vogel about Schröder

Few had doubted that it would fit between him and the Lakers anyway. In fact, the team needed a guy like Schröder. His ambition, his nimble legs and his organizational talent give the team significantly more opportunities. Thanks to Schröder, James, who is now 35 years old, can concentrate more on scoring and does not have to distribute the balls as well.

In the first appearances, Schröder indicated exactly those qualities for which he was piloted into the city: He pulls with razor steps to the basket, if necessary also hits from the triple line and otherwise bustles around lively at all ends of the parquet. Against the Clippers he almost managed a so-called "triple double" (two-digit statistics in three categories) with 18 counters, 12 rebounds and eight assists. "Dennis is a dynamic player. We are thrilled to have him here," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel, praising his new development strategist. "He's a nuisance for his opponents defensively, he defends across the field. He's better than any other player on our team to get to the basket."

These attributes are not new, Schröder has been proving his enormous ability in the NBA for years. In the preseason he ended up in second place in the choice of the best substitute player in the league because of these skills. What is new, however, is that he plays for a club that can make it to the NBA final, if not at all. The last German with such opportunities is now retired. His name is Dirk Nowitzki. In addition, Schröder is now permanently back in the starting line-up, like in his last years in Atlanta, where statistically he had his most prosperous period. But he is no longer so concerned with numbers and scoring. Schröder is a Laker to win.

"I'm a team player," he said about his role in Los Angeles alongside all the greats like James, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol - they all benefit from the space that Schröder creates with his dribbling, his turbo start. And your fresh driver is apparently serious when he says: "Whatever it takes, I'll do it." This Corona-shaped season is still young, the exertions with long trips away and tough opponents are still to come, but if the beginning showed one thing, it was:

And so experts in the USA are already reporting on the starting point of a successful sporting relationship between the man from Germany and the club in yellow and purple. "That could be the beginning of a long-term bromance between Schröder and the Lakers," jubilated the Los Angeles Times, "one that makes sense for both parties and benefits both of them." And for that it is worthwhile to take on a few hardships.