Toronto Raptors officials visited Nashville this past week, as they continue evaluating potential home sites for the 2020-21 season.
New: Nashville being considered as temporary home for Toronto Raptors.https://t.co/hm1A8qoCl0— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) November 7, 2020
First reported by Adam Vingan at The Athletic, the home arena in question is the Bridgestone Arena, which is where the Nashville Predators play. The site also regularly hosts SEC’s end-of-season tournament, so it’s not totally unfamiliar with hoops.
If you’ve been living off the grid for the last month or so, you might need some catching up here. Several sources have reported that the Raptors may have to play their home games south of the border in 2020-21 (at least to start the season), especially now that a December 22 start date is confirmed. This obviously has to do with the Canada-U.S. border’s extended closure due to COVID-19 and that rapid testing for non-essential purposes is still a few months away.
In late October, some wagons were circled around Louisville, but Raptors players uniformly shot down the idea because of the city’s relation to the Breonna Taylor tragedy. We’ve also heard Kansas City, M.O. and Tampa, Florida as potential sites — though Vangan’s source with the team says they would prefer something closer to their Atlantic Division rivals. Buffalo, NY and Newark, NJ — both basketball-ready cities within an hour’s flight of those teams — are also floating out there as possibilities.
There’s still plenty of unknowns, though. Now that the December 22 date is written in pen, there’s going to be a lot more buzz around potential sites as the Raptors head full tilt into a new season. Getting a defined home for the team — and getting some idea as to when they can play in Scotiabank Arena again — will be the question over the next six weeks.