While some cities have begun easing lockdown restrictions designed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, many areas still have strict guidelines in place.
That could cause issues as the NBA plans its return.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors are one of several teams that have inquired about reporting directly to their assigned hub city if and when the league returns. The league responded by saying it will work with them to help find a solution to holding a training camp.
ESPN Sources: Some franchises in restricted markets — including NYC, Boston, Toronto — are inquiring to NBA on option for players to bypass returns to those cities in June and report directly to proposed bubbles for eventual start of training camps. https://t.co/KxLrRIzh6V
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 22, 2020
Teams around the league have slowly started reopening their practice facilities, but getting players to return from their hometowns remains a problem. The Raptors are one of those teams — having reopened their practice center in limited fashion earlier this month — but quarantine restrictions in Toronto have made it difficult for players to return.
Like several other leagues, the NBA is strongly considering the use of hub cities to help finish the season. The plan would see a number of teams travel to the same location to play out the final few games of the season. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., is rumored to be the leading hub city candidate for the Eastern Conference.
Being able to report directly to the hub city would certainly make things simpler for the Raptors, who would avoid having to bring all their players back to Canada just to travel to the hub city at a later date.
American team members already face a headache trying to cross the border back into Canada, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine likely upon returning to the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said that NHL players returning to the country will be forced to undergo a self-quarantine period if the season resumes before returning to their team’s facilities.
Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks and Celtics are two other teams that have raised the idea with the league. At this point, however, teams are still very much in the dark about the NBA’s plans to resume the season.
The league has scheduled a Board of Governors meeting on Friday to help provide information to franchises moving forward. By then, the future of the 2019-20 NBA season should be at least a little clearer.