If things go as planned, the Toronto Raptors will be back in Scotiabank Arena for the home opener in mid-October.
The NBA has reportedly informed teams that the 2021-22 season will commence on October 19 and run as late as June 19, the scheduled date of Game 7 of the NBA Finals, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
While no announcement has officially been made regarding the team’s return to Toronto, an October start should give Ontario plenty of to fully vaccinate all Ontarians who want the COVID-19 vaccine. The Canadian government has long said that all Canadians who want to be vaccinated will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine by September.
MLSE and a committee representing Ontario’s professional sports teams have reportedly already asked the provincial government for approval to start admitting fans into arenas once the province enters stage 2 of its reopening plan, according to TSN’s Dave Naylor.
If approved, stadiums could return to full capacity as early as July 23, giving the Raptors plenty of time to prepare for their home opener in mid-October.
For the NBA, the 2021-22 schedule is a return to the league’s pre-pandemic timeline. The league had played a condensed 72-game season starting on December 22 and potentially running through July 22.
Free agency will officially commence on August 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET, meaning players will have almost two months between the start of free agency and the beginning of training camp on September 28.