Raptors travel to COVID-stricken Florida in advance of NBA restart

William Lou
NBA reporter

The Toronto Raptors will travel to Fort Myers, Fla, in advance of the NBA’s plans to restart the 2019-20 season, the team announced Monday.

Toronto will send a select number of staffers and players to Fort Myers, and it’s expected that the team will gather there until the rest of the NBA is ready to enter the campus at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. In keeping with health protocols, the Raptors will not gather for group workouts at this time.

When they enter the bubble, the Raptors will stay at the Gran Destino Tower resort with the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, and the Boston Celtics. They will play scrimmages leading up to July 30, followed by a truncated eight-game regular season schedule followed by the playoffs thereafter.

However, there are several concerns that may derail the NBA’s plans. For one, Florida has become a hotspot for COVID-19 as there were an additional 7,543 confirmed cases over the weekend, to bring the number of active cases to 97,291. Fortunately, there are only 3,556 active cases in Lee County, where the Raptors are staying in the meantime.

There is also a faction of players, led by Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, who may sit out in an act of solidarity with the ongoing protests across the world against police brutality and anti-Black racism. There are also other players, such as Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards, who plan to sit out for fear of suffering an injury that could jeopardize future earnings.

For the Raptors, there are no indications that anyone on the roster is inclined to sit out. Players can skip the restart without any punishment other than not making the prorated remainder of their salaries for this season, but they do have to make a final decision and alert their teams by June 24.

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