The 2020-2021 season has plenty of anticipation for the Toronto Raptors yet, comes with a lot of confusion as to where they’ll play. It might be time to hold off on “We The North” for a year.
As people in the Orlando bubble alluded to how challenging it was to be locked in the area for months, expect the NBA to do whatever they can to get teams back in their home arenas. However, this won’t be the case for the Toronto Raptors.
Due to the prohibited travel between the United States and Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Raptors are looking for a home south of the border for the upcoming season. A former NBA market may end up coming to the rescue.
According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is a candidate for the Raptors’ venue next season.
Prudential Center is no stranger to housing pro teams as they’re the home of the New Jersey Devils (NHL) and the former home of the New Jersey Nets after leaving IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ. The Nets called Prudential Center home for a couple of seasons prior to their relocation to Brooklyn in 2012.
Additionally, NCAA basketball also has a connection with the arena. One of the best teams in the Big East, Seton Hall, regularly has packed crowds in Prudential Center for their home games.
Nashville and Tampa Bay are two additional cities that are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Raptors 2020-21 venue, Bondy added.
Louisville and Kansas City were the initial potential destinations. As for Louisville, talks fell through for the KFC Yum! Center after the Raptors reportedly opposed playing in the city where Breonna Taylor passed away, causing plenty of social unrest. Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes also welcomes the idea of bringing Raptors to the market where they haven’t had pro basketball in 35 years. Kansas City has T-Mobile Center which fits the NBA capacity requirements so, don’t look past them in this situation.
Another option that makes sense would be taking after the Raptors’ baseball relative Blue Jays, who had to play in Buffalo this season. The Jays actually had an inspiring year making the playoffs despite never being in their true home venue. Maybe the Raptors can represent the northside from there as well since it works geographically.
As for the Raptors, playing somewhere else shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to them. There’s no timetable for this virus to end therefore, the odds were already high that the travel ban from the United States to Canada would be upheld. Although this was unplanned, you must play with the cards you’re dealt with.
So, I guess it’ll be “We The South” moving forward?