Although there is optimism long-term about the vaccines, and although the NBA is full-speed ahead on its plan to open the 2020-21 season on December 22, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of flies in the ointment that lie ahead.
For one example? When the primary country in which you play is suffering through the worst yet of the pandemic, are other countries going to let you come in and out right now?
Sounds like the answer from Canada is going to be a ‘no’:
AP source: The NBA and the Raptors have been denied to play In Canada.
— Rob Gillies (@rgilliescanada) November 20, 2020
Like the Blue Jays last year, who home’d in Buffalo (and might have to do so again in 2021), the Raptors may will have to find a temporary home for the upcoming season. Reportedly, Nashville, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale are under consideration if it comes to that.
In the meantime, there’s still a month between now and the start of the season, so it’s not inconceivable that things could still be worked out with Toronto and Canada. The country has been reviewing a proposal from the NBA on how to make it work, and perhaps a tweak or two will help make it happen? Or maybe by the second half of the season, the Raptors can be back in Toronto?
In any case, the whole thing is a reminder that, while the adjusted season is set to begin in a month, it may still face various hurdles along the way.
INSTANT UPDATE: Tampa it is:
The Raptors will start this season playing in Tampa instead of Toronto. (Canada currently requires anyone crossing the border to quarantine for 14 days each time – obviously not workable for the Raptors themselves, or any opponents coming to play them.)
Team statement here: pic.twitter.com/DJAmJaPrW6
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 20, 2020