The Toronto Raptors head south for the winter – at least initially.
The Raptors announced Friday that they would start the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida, amid concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Canada. In a statement, Masai Ujiri, the president of the Raptors for basketball operations, said left the possibility open that the team could return to Toronto sometime this season. The raptors are the only N.B.A. A team based outside of the US and Canada has put strict policies in place for travel between the two countries. Cases of the coronavirus in the United States continue to skyrocket.
“So we won’t be at home and with our fans for the time being,” said Ujiri in the statement. “They say absence makes the heart beat faster. I’m not sure if this is possible for us – we love Toronto and Canada and we know we have the best fans in the NL. For now, I’m going to ask you to cheer us on from afar, and we look forward to the day we can all be together again. “
The Toronto Blue Jays faced a similar situation this summer before the start of the Major League Baseball season, they ultimately chose to play the majority of their home games in Buffalo, New York.
The N.B.A. The season starts on December 22nd. The players come to training camps on December 1st.
The Raptors had worked with government officials for weeks to find a way to play games in Toronto this season. Ujiri even wrote a comment for the Toronto Star last week to make a public case on his case. He was referring to the lessons the team – and the rest of the league – had learned from the rest of last season in a bubble at Walt Disney World outside of Orlando, Fla.
“We have made detailed proposals to governments on how we and the teams visiting us can play safely in Toronto,” he wrote.
However, the Raptors will currently be stationed in the United States.