The Toronto Raptors could play at home again when the new season starts
To add to all of the Toronto Raptors trade rumours going around, there's another possibility fans can look forward to: potentially getting to see the team play on their home court.
The federal government is currently considering the proposal and will be discussing it with the Raps in the coming weeks, Minister of Health Patty Hadju said in a statement late Tuesday.
Things that would complicate things, mainly the ongoing Canada-U.S. border closure and quarantine rules for visiting teams, will, of course, have to be taken into consideration.
Raptors should issue ultimatum either they play at home or leave Canada permanently.— Michael (@Michael59409484) November 18, 2020
But, Premier Doug Ford has been pushing for new measures for incoming travelers that would mean two rapid COVID-19 tests — one immediately upon landing in Ontario and one five or six days later — instead of the full 14-day isolation period, making things a whole lot easier for those coming into Toronto.
Hadju and her team said that they "understand that many Canadians are eager to see their favourite professional teams return to play," but that "the health and safety of Canadians is our government's top priority and reducing the spread of COVID-19 must always be top of mind."
We need to know where the Raptors will be playing home games before the NBA Schedule is released. https://t.co/RbzD9WYL5Y— Andrew Sheehy (@andrewsheehy228) November 17, 2020
The team has stated that it is staying flexible and making contingency plans for both situations: getting to finally return to gameplay at the Scotiabank Arena again, or having to call elsewhere home for the 2020-2021 season.
With COVID-19 cases only going up in Toronto and south of the border, it all seems very up in the air, especially after Ottawa decided against letting the Toronto Blue Jays play at home earlier this year when the number of infections was far lower.
Whether fans will ever be allowed to watch games in-person again in the foreseeable future is a whole other question.
I think home court advantage exists with or without fans. Playing it Tampa is not going to benefit us. I think the @Raptors will sense our love and pride inside an empty arena in Toronto!— Kathy Alexander (@KathyLAlexander) November 18, 2020
The 2020 NBA draft takes place Wednesday evening, with free agent negotiations starting on Friday, during which the Raps could very well lose big players like Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol, who is reportedly leaving the league completely. Training camps start in just a couple of weeks before the season kicks off on Dec. 22.
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