Make certain you note the Raptors will not play their 2021 NBA season in downtown Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center, despite one report that the city was being pushed and considered. “I’ve never been told that it was even an option,” said Louisville businessman and former NBA Players Association president Junior Bridgeman. “I was dumbfounded by the report. From everything I’ve been told, the intention of the Raptors and the NBA is for the team to play the season in Toronto. With the improvements in (novel coronavirus) testing, I believe that is their preferred option.”
Bridgeman said that he talked to Raptors owner Larry Tannebaum, but they did not speak until after Yahoo! posted its story. “I had never even heard about it until then,” Bridgeman said. “I never knew it was even an option. I think if there was something to it, Larry would have told me.”
Two sources who asked not to be identified said Thursday that there were discussions between the Raptors and the arena. But three sources told me and WDRB Sports reporter Eric Crawford that the discussions ended after Raptors players communicated their reluctance to play in Louisville because of the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police officers as well as the social unrest that followed.
One big focus for next season has been the status of the Toronto Raptors. Due to the United States’ handling of COVID-19, travel into Canada has been banned. MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo, and the Toronto FC of the MLS played its games in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Raptors face a similar dilemma, and league sources tell Yahoo Sports one alternate location that has been broached is Louisville, Kentucky. Former NBA player and successful businessman Junior Bridgeman has been in contact with the NBA, considering Louisville has the KFC Yum! Center that is NBA-ready.