Atlantic Notes: Ujiri, Raptors, Lewis Jr., Sixers

The Raptors have provided proposals for how they – and visiting teams – could safely play in Toronto this season, president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri wrote in an article for The Toronto Star.

The organization has explored temporary homes in the United States due to the border being closed to non-essential travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Raptors’ strong preference is to play its games in Toronto if permitted.

“We’ve provided detailed proposals to governments about how we, and the teams that visit us, could play safely in Toronto,” Ujiri wrote. “Our plan builds on things we learned in the bubble, such as daily testing, limiting contact, and safe travel. It’s constructed to keep our players, staff, their families and Canadians healthy, because that has to be the starting point and the end point.”

The Raptors are considering a number of options in America, with a recent report indicating that Tampa Bay, Florida would be a frontrunner to host the team this season.

“We have to look at other options, because the preseason is coming up fast — Dec. 1,” Ujiri explained. “We are proud to represent our city and our country, and we hope to be able to do that while playing in Toronto. Cities in the United States have been very kind to us — they’ve offered us a home away from home. To them I say: Thank you. To you, I say that I hope we get to tell them we won’t be able to take them up on their generous offer.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Despite Ujiri and the Raptors presenting a good plan to host games in Toronto this season, concerns remain over cross-border travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, Canada’s deputy chief of public health Dr. Howard Njoo said, as relayed by ESPN. The team remains without a finalized home despite training camps beginning in roughly two weeks.
  • The speed of Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr. has attracted the interest of the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Lewis, who’s largely considered to be the fastest player in the draft, worked out for the team last month. “Getting to the rim, finishing over length and showing my shot as well,” Lewis said of what he tried to show the team. “I try to bring every aspect I can whether it’s ball handing, passing, shooting, defense, rebounding,. Anything I can do to help the team. I’m trying to get better [in] being more physical with my size and handling bigger defenders, cutting to the basket and making great reads.”
  • Daryl Morey‘s rebuilding of the Sixers could ultimately start with the draft, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The Sixers own the No. 21, No. 34, No. 36, No. 49 and No. 58 picks in the draft, which is set to commence on Wednesday.
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