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Report: Raptors ask NBA if players can go directly to bubble sites for camp

Sportsnet logo Sportsnet 2020-05-23 Sportsnet Staff
Kyle Lowry standing in front of a crowd: raptors-kyle-lowry-reacts-during-win-over-nets © Mary Altaffer/AP raptors-kyle-lowry-reacts-during-win-over-nets

The Toronto Raptors are said to be among several NBA teams who have reportedly asked whether their players can report directly to a potential bubble-city training camp — instead of returning to their team’s home city — if the season is able to resume, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Toronto’s concerns were expressed during a general manager’s call with the league office on Thursday, Wojnarowski reported, and stemmed from how the NBA waiting to release a timetable for when players may head to a potential camp affects players’ training to return.

Raptors star Kyle Lowry shared his particular situation with Wojnarowski, explaining that he has been working out in Philadelphia and if he has to return to Toronto prior to joining the team at a training camp in the United States, he would have to quarantine for the government-mandated two-week period — a stretch in which his conditioning could be negatively impacted at a time when other players are ramping up their return-to-play regimens.

Bypassing the need to return to Toronto, and instead head directly to where the NBA hosts its training camps — with Disney World in Orlando still reportedly being among the front-runners — would remove the mandatory two-week, border-crossing quarantine period and allow Lowry to get to work with his teammates immediately.

The Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics all voiced similar concerns as the Raptors, according to Wojnarowski. Both Massachusetts and New York state have been hit hard by the novel coronavirus. As of Friday night, New York has reported over 362, 990 cases and Massachusetts has reported over 90, 880 — two of the five highest totals in the United States — according to a database maintained by the New York Times. This has led to strict social distancing policies that could impact player training.

Although the NBA has not established a firm plan at this time, the league told the Raptors, Nets, Knicks and Celtics that it intends to work with them on solutions to the quarantine obstacle, Wojnarowski reported — with details potentially coming as soon as next Friday, following an NBA board of governor’s call that is expected include the league instructing teams to recall players to their home markets around June 1.

Earlier this week, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange reported that one possible solution being considered is the Raptors taking their operation to the U.S. and centralizing somewhere there for what most expect to be a three-week training camp prior to play beginning.

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