With travel from the USA banned in Canada, the NBA is looking into using Louisville as an alternate venue for the Raptors. January 18th is being viewed as a targeted start date.
Organizing the upcoming NBA season is going to be a logistical nightmare. With the Covid-19 threat still claiming thousands of lives daily in the USA, the country is viewed as unsafe for travel by most of the world.
There will be concerns regarding testing protocols, travel hazards and training venues. The NBA is already in talks with the NBPA with regards to player salaries and the CBA.
Will Louisville serve as the Raptors’ home venue? When will the NBA season start?
Due to the United States’ handling of COVID-19, travel into Canada has been banned. In the ongoing MLB and MLS, Canada based teams are resorting to playing their home games this side of the border, so as to ensure smooth functioning of the league.
MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo. Toronto FC of the MLS played its games in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Toronto Raptors may need to shift to Louisville for next season, until the travel restrictions are lifted in Canada. Moreover, it will be interesting to see, if by the time the NBA starts, Canada has put in some provisions for athletes and teams to travel to their country via special means.
This will ensure that Canada based teams don’t miss out on the home-court/stadium advantage.
Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center has been considered as a potential alternative location for the Raptors to play next season, per @VinceGoodwill
Currently, travel from the U.S. into Canada is banned due to COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/Nypv88BuVw
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 22, 2020
In addition, the NBA plans to bring basketball action back by Martin Luther King Day – the 18th of January. While negotiations and discussions are still on, the expected timeline is on course with the initial ideas floated by the league.
The NBA Draft is scheduled to take place on 18th November. This will give teams exactly 2 months to get their plans together with the incoming rookie class and prepare for the upcoming season.