Restart Notes: Raptors, Staffers, Referees, Schedule

The Raptors, who traveled to Florida a week ago and are staying and training in the Fort Myers area, are essentially experiencing a “test run” of the environment the NBA will look to create at Walt Disney World next month, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

As Bontemps details, the Raptors are staying in a hotel that is otherwise unoccupied, are eating meals in a large ballroom with spaced-out tables or in their own hotel rooms, and are being directly shuttled to and from Florida Gulf Coast University for workouts.

If the Raptors make a deep playoff run, their early start in Florida could mean that they end up being away from home longer than any other team. However, head coach Nick Nurse doesn’t think his players or staffers are thinking about that yet, as Bontemps relays.

“Right now, we’re not,” Nurse said on Saturday. “Maybe at some point on the back end of it, or midway through it, we might. But I just don’t know. We’re, what, five days in? They’ve been a snap of a finger. They’ve blown by. So it doesn’t feel like a burden or overwhelming. It just feels like we’re all starting and getting ready to go.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:

  • NBA teams have been informed that they’ll have the ability to replace staff members who test positive for COVID-19 on the Orlando campus and are unable to work, league sources tell ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link).
  • The National Basketball Referees Association announced today that it has ratified a letter of agreement with the NBA addressing issues related to the resumed season.
  • Nick Friedell and Tim MacMahon of ESPN make their picks for the 12 most important “seeding games” on the summer schedule, including Lakers vs. Clippers, Grizzlies vs. Pelicans, Bucks vs. Raptors, and more.
  • Jabari Young of CNBC explores some of the creative ways the NBA will look to make money and engage fans when play resumes in Orlando this summer.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke to Dr. Stephen Gonzalez, an executive board member for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, about the mental health challenges that NBA players will face on the Orlando campus this summer.
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