The Toronto Raptors are heading south for the winter — at the least for the beginning of it.
The Raptors introduced Friday that they might start the 2020-21 season primarily based in Tampa, Fla., amid issues in regards to the coronavirus pandemic’s affect in Canada. In an announcement, Masai Ujiri, the Raptors’ president of basketball operations, left open the possibility that the group may return to Toronto sooner or later this season. The Raptors are the one N.B.A. group primarily based exterior of the USA, and Canada has imposed strict measures about journey between the 2 nations. Instances of the coronavirus within the U.S. continue to skyrocket.
“So we’ll be away from our dwelling and our followers for now,” Ujiri stated within the assertion. “They are saying absence makes the guts develop fonder. I’m unsure that’s doable for us — we love Toronto and Canada, and we all know we now have the most effective followers within the N.B.A. For now, I’ll ask you to cheer for us from afar, and we’ll sit up for the day we’re all collectively once more.”
The Toronto Blue Jays faced a similar predicament this summer season forward of the beginning of the Main League Baseball season, in the end opting to play nearly all of their dwelling video games in Buffalo, N.Y.
The N.B.A. season begins Dec. 22, with gamers arriving for coaching camps on Dec. 1.
The Raptors had been working with authorities officers for weeks to attempt to discover a method to play video games in Toronto this season. Ujiri even wrote an op-ed for the Toronto Star final week to make a public plea for his case. He referred to the teachings the group — and the remainder of the league — had realized from taking part in out the rest of final season in a bubble at Walt Disney World exterior of Orlando, Fla.
“We’ve supplied detailed proposals to governments about how we, and the groups that go to us, may play safely in Toronto,” he wrote.
For now, although, the Raptors shall be primarily based within the U.S.