No Murray, no LeBron, no Green ring ceremony for Raptors this week


Some of the most anticipated games of the season by Raptors fans were supposed to happen right about now.

Kitchener’s Jamal Murray and MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, one of the most mesmerizing big men to ever play the game, and the second-place Denver Nuggets were scheduled to play at Toronto on Sunday. The Nuggets handed Toronto its only loss of a five-game road trip on March 1, so the rematch would have been must-watch, especially with Toronto a lot closer to full strength.

Boston, the team battling Toronto for second in the East, was supposed to be here a few days before that game. A Sixers matchup was to be just before that.

Tuesday was supposed to bring LeBron James to Canada for the only time this season (besides a potential NBA Finals meeting).

Only four players have averaged more than the 28.2 points James has managed in 26 appearances at Toronto. And that doesn’t include his perennial playoff poundings of the Raptors. Plus former Raptors starter Danny Green was going to be feted for his contributions to last season’s squad while receiving his championship ring before the Lakers game.

Finally, Mississauga native R.J. Barrett, who had been starting to break out after hitting the rookie wall before the season shut down, was going to welcome his hometown team to New York City on Wednesday. A home-and-away reunion special at Memphis and then at home against Jonas Valanciunas and the Grizzlies would have been entertaining too. Not long after that there was going to be two more games against league-leading Milwaukee.

Instead, we all wait for better times.


Charles Barkley says he does not have the novel coronavirus. The legendary big man announced 10 days ago that he was being tested and going into self-isolation after not feeling well.

“I’ve received my COVID-19 test results this morning and they are negative,” Barkley said in a statement released by Turner Sports. “I’d like to thank everyone for reaching out and expressing your concern and support. You all be safe and please take the necessary actions to help ensure your well-being.”

Barkley had been in New York, which has a huge amount of cases, and also had spent time at MLB spring training earlier in March with the Los Angeles Angels.


Things change fast, but New Orleans Pelicans boss David Griffin said this weekend that he’s anticipating a return of NBA basketball sometime this season.

Griffin told Fox Sports New Orleans: “With everything changing so quickly, everything is in a state of flux that I think it would be premature for the NBA to say what it ultimately looks like. I do know unequivocally that the league is very mindful of the idea of getting back to playing,” Griffin said, per

“The idea of canceling a season is not all on their minds, and we’re modelling every possible thing we can for how we can deliver a product to the fans. Quite frankly, we’re all going to need a diversion in the future. (But) until we can get to a point where we think we’ve got containment of (the coronavirus), we’re going to continue to stay locked down. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where we can come back sooner rather than later.”


It’s believed that ex-Raptor P.J. Tucker has the biggest basketball shoe collection in the NBA. His former teammates will tell you that and now Tucker, who left the Raptors to sign with the Houston Rockets a couple of years ago, is planning to open a small shoe store in Houston, per ESPN. Tucker hopes to open it in October … The latest odds on whether NBA games will be played on or before June 1: +300 for YES, -500 for NO, per The odds for July 1 are: +140 for YES, -180 for NO. It’s -160 for YES by August 1 or sooner, +120 for no … Former Raptors and Knicks legend Charles Oakley has been ordered, along with Knicks owner James Dolan, into mediation by federal appeals court. Reports have it scheduled to happen on March 31 via telephone. Dolan had Oakley arrested and kicked out of Madison Square Garden in Feb. 2017, then banned him. Oakley’s civil lawsuit was dismissed and Oakley appealed that decision last month … FIBA is encouraging basketball players to stop hooping for the moment. FIBA president Hamane Niang and secretary general Andreas Zagklis said that in “no circumstance should our passion to play basketball surpass the importance of following the instructions of the public authorities” when it comes to helping ensure public health.