The Toronto Raptors will have a year to convince Kawhi Leonard to commit his long-term future to the franchise.
With the two-time All-Star set to hit free agency in 2019, they know they'll have to impress him enough to get him to re-sign and change his mind about wanting to return to his hometown of Los Angeles.
Therefore, making a good first impression on the small forward is hugely important for the Raptors as they prepare for their first season with him.
Getting off on the right foot
By the sounds of it, new head coach Nick Nurse has done a good job of that as he got his relationship with Leonard off to a good start.
The pair met for the first time last weekend and Nurse explained how the 27-year-old didn't live up to his reputation as a man of a few words.
"I sat down and said, 'Do you have any questions?' And he started firing them," said Nurse, according to the Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk. "And it just led us to a really easygoing (conversation). Not what I was expecting.
"Very smart. Very intelligent. Very engaging. Really enjoyed it. ... We could have gone forever. (Raptors management) kept knocking on the door and I was like, 'A couple more minutes.' Because we were really into it. It was fun to listen to his take."
Soon after the news of his trade to Toronto broke, ESPN's Chris Haynes reported that the two-time Defensive Player of the Year "has no desire" to play for the Canadian franchise.
But once he had his first contact with the team, these discussions were described as "positive" and it seems that has now continued with his new head coach too.
Nurse said Leonard "lit up like a Christmas tree" when they were discussing on-court strategies and how he would utilise his skills.
"He asked me, 'How are you going to use me? Where are you going to get me the ball? What do you see?' And I told him, 'Listen. To me, you can do pretty much everything," he said.
"You can post. You can drive. You can handle it up the floor. You can play screen and roll. You can come off pindowns.'
"I said, 'Did I miss anything?' He's like, 'No, that's about it.' I said, 'You'll probably be doing all that stuff.'"
But all of this depends largely on his health as it's still a mystery if he's fully recovered from the hip injury that kept him out for most of last season.
However, the superstar has passed a physical with the Raptors and if he's ready to go for training camp, fans in the six should be excited about what he can produce.
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