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New Jersey arena emerges as possible relocation for Raptors due to COVID-19

Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Nick Nurse, Raptors relocation

The NBA and Players Association are still in discussions regarding the negotiation of a start date for the 2020-21 NBA season. Both the league and the players seem motivated to get the season back on track for a more standard schedule wherein the playoffs occur over the summer, but there lies one issue with the Toronto Raptors.

One notable wrinkle involving next season will revolve around the Raptors, who will be unable to play in their home city of Toronto due to ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions that do not allow U.S. players to travel across the border into Canada.

As such, the Raptors will have to play their games elsewhere in the United States so as to avoid any travel delays.

In general, the NBA wants to streamline travel in the 2020-21 season, even implementing MLB-like series in which teams play one another for three consecutive games. Not only will this make for some interesting storylines, but it will cut down on travel considerably—especially for teams that share states.

In this case, multiple different sites are being discussed as a potential 2020-21 home for the Raptors, with Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center being labeled the front-runner in a story by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“The Raptors have spoken to the operators of the Prudential Center about using their 19,500-seat arena, according to a source. It’s one of a few options for Masai Ujiri’s squad, and a preference for the NBA because of its close proximity to all of Toronto’s division foes.”

The Prudential Center is home to the NCAA’s Seton Hall basketball program as well as the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.