The Raptors need a home during the pandemic.
The National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver in March said his group would follow the science in getting the 2020 playoffs going. Eight months later, Silver is following the economics of his business, a business that will put product back on the floor around December 22nd. Not only will there be games, but the NBA wants customers in the buildings despite skyrocketing COVID-19 positive tests results in the United States and in Ontario, Canada where Toronto is located. Toronto is an NBA problem, Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises does not know if its Raptors NBA business can play games in Canada. Where does that leave the business. Kicking the tires elsewhere. Cities are after the Raptors business because they know Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises will pay rent to use a municipally owned building that does not have an NBA team and maybe, just maybe, show the NBA that city has what it takes to land an expansion or relocation franchise in the future should that happen to materialize.
Tampa, Nashville, Louisville, Kansas City, Buffalo, Newark and Fort Lauderdale. The NBA is not going to Tampa because Orlando is nearby. The NBA is not going to Newark as the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are in the market. Nashville is a small market with the NFL, NHL, MLS and college sports in town and is too close to Memphis. The NBA has failed in Kansas City and Buffalo. The NBA has a team about 16 miles in Miami south of Fort Lauderdale. Louisville was passed over when the NBA took in four American Basketball Association teams in 1976. Louisville also struck out about two decades ago in an attempt to lure Charlotte, Houston and Vancouver’s owners to move to town. Louisville does not a big corporate or TV market. The NBA has a Toronto COVID-19 problem.