“They are Mentally Tough”: Former Warriors Player Confident Toronto Raptors Can Overcome Playing in Guest Venue

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The Toronto Raptors have a tougher road compared to other NBA franchises ahead of the new season. As noted earlier, the NBA and the players’ association agreed to the 22nd December start date for the new season.

However, the Toronto Raptors will be scrambling to find suitable venues for them to play in the NBA. The Canadian government has placed significant travel restrictions with regards to the United States that makes the Raptors playing out of Toronto unfeasible.

Therefore, the Raptors have started the search for a new venue within the United States to carry out their season.

Rumors suggest that the NBA wants the Raptors to play out of the Prudential Center in New Jersey. This is primarily due to the arena’s proximity to the Raptors’ conference rivals.

Given the difficulty of intra-country travel in the United States, the league will be hoping this works out. Whereas, the Raptors have also made inquiries about Louisville and Tampa Bay as potential host venues.

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TORONTO, ON – February 20: Coach Nick Nurse chats to the media following practice.
The Toronto Raptors held their first practice at the BioSteel centre following their All-Star break. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Masai Ujiri and the Raptors front office want to wrap up the speculation surrounding the venues soon so that the players can focus on the more pressing basketball matters.

For Ujiri and Head Coach Nick Nurse also have significant decisions to make regarding the roster, with players like Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Fred Van Vleet all entering free agency in the off-season.

The Raptors President cannot be preoccupied with the venue concerns of the team with 3 important players needing negotiations.

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Matt Barnes believes in the Toronto Raptors

The Raptors had a disappointing playoff run. The defending champions fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

For the Raptors, they will want to redeem themselves and make their way back to the Finals. The deck will be stacked against them, being the only team that will play in a guest venue rather than their own home.

Former Golden State Warriors player Matt Barnes went on ESPN’s The Jump recently. With regards to the Raptors, Barnes praised the outfit and considered them best suited to overcome playing away from home.

“I definitely think it’s going to be a tough call. People have to understand that, we (NBA players) are creatures of habit, and our habit and habitats have truly been disrupted in 2020.

“So for them to have to go somewhere else and play will be tough, away from their family. But like I said, the mental aspect of the game is a lot. But the one thing I will say about this team is they are very mentally tough.

“There’s a very mentally tough team starting with Kyle Lowry and Nick Nurse, and going down the line. So if any team can relocate and still salvage and have a very solid season, I think the Toronto Raptors can do that.”

The Raptors will be hoping to wrap up the search for a host venue soon, given that the new season begins in almost a month and a half. Playing away from Toronto, the Raptors face one of their toughest challenges yet next season.

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