Toronto Raptors To Move Countries, Call Tampa Home For Start of NBA Season

Toronto Raptors To Move Countries, Will Call Tampa Home For Start of 2020-21 NBA Season

Oh, Canada, In Florida?! For the time being, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors franchise, the 2019 NBA champs, will be trading snowy Canada winters for sunshine and palm trees in December.

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The Raptors plan on starting their season in Tampa, Florida, according to a statement from the team’s president, Masai Ujiri.

It wasn’t without diligently trying to keep the team in Toronto for the start of the season, though.

Ujiri said the team worked diligently with local, provincial and federal level public health officials 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.”

Ujiri said those conversations were productive and found “strong support for the protocols we put forward”.

But, the Raptors decided to move forward with another option – in the USA – in light of what’s going in in the world today. Sportsnet reports that the Raptors were “unable to secure permission to play in Canada”.

“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,” Ujiri said per the Raptors. “We want to thank all levels of government and their public health officials for their dedication to this process, and for looking after the health of Canadians. We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to play in Toronto. And as an organization, we remain committed to doing all we can to promote and demonstrate public health measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.”

Masai Ujiri

Ujiri went on to ask Raptors fans to “cheer…from afar” in the meantime as they look forward to reuniting in the future.

“So we’ll be away from our home and our fans for now,” Ujiri said in the statement per the Raptors. “They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m not sure that’s possible for us – we love Toronto and Canada, and we know we have the best fans in the NBA. For now, I’ll ask you to cheer for us from afar, and we’ll look forward to the day we are all together again.”

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