COVID-19 has forced the Raptors to move down South.
Due to the Coronavirus, the NBA had to get creative this past season as they brought 22 teams into a bubble format in Orlando. This turned out to be a massive success for the league as not a single player or staff member was diagnosed with the virus. Now, the NBA is gearing up to resume play on December 22nd, where teams will be allowed to play in their own markets.
Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, this is simply not possible as the Canada-US border remains closed. Over the past few weeks, there were negotiations into where the Raptors would play next, and some though Louisville or Buffalo were the most likely options. Today, Raptors team president Masai Ujiri announced that they would actually be playing in Tampa Bay, Florida.
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Per Masai Ujiri:
“The Raptors worked diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena. These conversations were productive, and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward. Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida.”
While this will certainly be an adjustment for the Raptors, the team is urging their fans to continue supporting the team, even if they have to do it from afar. It's not an ideal situation, but such is life in 2020.