Toronto Raptors Head To Bubble Early To Resume NBA Season in Orlando

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Defending NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, have left Canada for Orlando ahead of the league’s planned restart.
The NBA is aiming to pick things up at Disney’s ESPN Wide World World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, after shutting play down back in March. The 22 invited teams have up to June 24 to inform the league as to whether or not they will be part of proceedings, but the Raptors have already jetted off.
That is according to the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith, who reports the team traveled to Fort Myers on Monday (H/T Bleacher Report).
"In keeping with NBA and team safety protocols, there will be no group workouts during this phase of return to play, and strict protocols have been designed to ensure this initial level of access will take place in a safe, controlled and healthy way,” the Raptors said in a press release, per Smith.
Fans and punters are brimming with anticipation after going several months without sports. Football is now underway in Europe, with the Premier League having resumed last week, so there will be plenty to watch and bet on. Of course, folks took advantage of online play via the casino of their choice while various leagues remained dormant.
The NBA’s return isn’t quite set in stone as yet, but a restart is very likely. A coalition of players led by guards Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley have expressed concerns over basketball overshadowing the social and racial issues currently at the forefront in the U.S. Several NBA players have been actively participating in protests across the nation and there are many who feel like a return to basketball could work against what they’re fighting for.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski have also reported that players want the NBA to make changes within, including improving "hiring practices for black front-office and head-coaching candidates—making it so the league's management better reflects its composition of players; donations to organizations serving black communities; and partnerships with black-owned businesses and arena vendors."
Apart from the obvious concerns as it relates to the climate in America, as well as those worldwide, players are also considering the increased risk of injury that would be brought on by kicking the season off again after months of inactivity.
Wojnarowski reported, along with Tim Bontemps, that Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans has opted to remain inactive as he will be a free agent at the end of the season, certainly the most impressive campaign of his NBA career on a personal front.
“Washington Wizards F Davis Bertans has decided to sit out the Orlando restart, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted on Monday. “Bertans is entering free agency off of his most productive NBA season – with two ACL injuries in his past.”
Bertans tore his ACL on two occasions prior to getting into the NBA and is keen on taking the safe route ahead of the proposed restart.
The Wizards were in the Eastern Conference’s ninth berth before the league closed off operations in March and have been offered a shot at qualifying for the playoffs via a play-in. The team understandably needs all hands on deck yet they're said to be in full support of the player’s decision and consider him to be a top priority for the offseason.
There will likely be some key developments by the Wednesday deadline, however, the Raptors are taking things in stride and are working with the view of the restart kicking off on time. The team won its very first NBA championship in 2019, led by Kawhi Leonard, but remain in contention for a repeat even after his departure and are currently second in the East with a 46-18 record.
Fans will have a lot more clarity as it pertains to the possibility of the league going through with the resumption by the end of the week. The NBA has set July 31 as the target date for restart.