Getting to work with new head coach Darko Rajakovic as well as the mix of youth and experience in the Raptors locker-room made Toronto an ideal landing spot for Dennis Schroder.

The veteran point guard was officially named a member of the Raptors on Wednesday after several media outlets reported he had signed a two-year contract worth just under US$26 million weeks ago.

The 29-year-old German said that things lined up perfectly for him to come to Toronto.

"Darko as the head coach plays a big part of it. I think the day of free agency he called me," said Schroder, who played for the Thunder when Rajakovic was an assistant coach in Oklahoma City. "I think the situation as well, you know, having young guys having a couple of veterans, I think we can compete.

"I'm just there to lead the team and try to make sure the young guys do better and compete on the highest level."

Schroder averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Those numbers came on 30.1 minutes over 66 games last season, 50 of them starts.

He is expected to become the Raptors starting point guard after Fred VanVleet signed a three-year deal with the Houston Rockets worth a reported $130 million on June 30.

Schroder said that he had breakfast with Rajakovic on Monday about what he's expected to do in Toronto.

"Leading the team, doing what a point guard should do, leading, being a role model for those young guys," said Schroder in a video call from Las Vegas where the Raptors are competing in the NBA's Summer League. "I have 10 years under my belt now and I'm really proud of it, because you can't take that for granted.

"But for me, it's just about helping the young guys, helping my teammates, competing on the highest level."

Schroder has played 10 seasons in the NBA after being selected 17th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2013 draft. He's averaged 14 points, 4.7 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 26.8 minutes over his career in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Boston.

He's also appeared in 68 post-season games (15 starts), averaging 11.9 points, 3.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 24.9 minutes in the playoffs.

"Dennis is fierce, he's creative, and above all, he's competitive," said team president Masai Ujiri in a statement. "We're excited to welcome Dennis to Toronto, and are looking forward to seeing him on the Scotiabank Arena court."

Before being drafted by the Hawks, Schroder played three seasons (2010-2013) with Basketball Lowen Braunschweig, a club based in his hometown of Braunschweig, Germany. He also helped the German national team win a bronze medal at the 2022 FIBA EuroBasket, where he averaged team-highs of 22.1 points and 7.1 assists leading to an All-Tournament Team selection.

He also represented Germany at EuroBasket in 2017 and in 2015.

"They let me lead the whole (German) team," said Schroder. "Now with the Toronto Raptors it's a similar situation and I'm looking forward to that."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2023.