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Raptors gather in Tampa with training set to start

Oshae Brissett of the Toronto Raptors.
Oshae Brissett of the Toronto Raptors.

There’s no longer an NBA bubble, but from a media standpoint, many of the same restrictions remain in place.

What it means for our readers is access to the actual players is once again going to come solely in group formats on virtual conference calls.

It’s not ideal, but safety has to trump all.

Raptors players not already in Tampa travelled there on Monday, and will remain there until Dec. 11. They will go to Charlotte on that day for a pair of pre-season games against the Hornets on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14.

Mandatory individual workouts begin Tuesday and will continue until at least Dec. 6. If all the players have been cleared at that point — once again, every player and staff member is tested daily — team workouts can begin Sunday at the earliest.

Normally a media day would occur in which all the players are made available to the assembled media. This year the league has turned media day into Media week with two players available each day beginning Tuesday.

The Raptors, because they are in special circumstances having to begin the season playing in Tampa, will begin with an availability for GM Bobby Webster Tuesday and then jump in with two players and head coach Nick Nurse on Wednesday, at which point they will start rolling out the new faces in the lineup and those who have not been heard from recently.

Without the bubble, the protocols for returning to play after a positive COVID test — something the league fully expects will happen at some level — are much more strict than they had been when everything took place within the Disney World confines.

Now for a player to return after a positive test, he must sit out a minimum of 12 days from team activity, and can return then only if he has been either symptom-free for 10 days or produce two consecutive negative at least 24 hours apart.

Either way, no player who tests positive can return any earlier than the 12-day minimum.

The league has not laid out a criteria in terms of number of positive tests it would take to shut the league down. They will deal with the positives as they come, and adapt accordingly.

WHAT TO MAKE OF THE TERENCE DAVIS SITUATION

The team has been rather tight-lipped on this issue since Davis was charged with numerous offences following an alleged altercation with his girlfriend in Manhattan in October.

To date, all the team has said on the matter is they support the league investigation of the undrafted guard, who was such a pleasant surprise this past season in his rookie year.

A court date is set for Dec. 11. In the interim, the Raptors already have had to make at least one decision on Davis’ future with them.

On Sunday, the team had to guarantee his rookie contract in order to maintain his rights. The belief is that has happened with the team awaiting both the results of the league investigation and the court’s decision on the charges.

Once the court has ruled and after the league has concluded its investigation, the team will have to make a decision on whether they can keep him in the fold or, if that choice is not palatable, find a way to send his contract elsewhere.

FILLING OUT THE ROSTER

The Raptors’ training camp roster is officially at the maximum 20 players.

The most recent signing, confirmed by player representative Mike George on the FAN 590 Monday, has Oshae Brissett signed.

Brissett became a favourite of head coach Nick Nurse last season beginning with his shortened tenure with the Canadian Olympic team in its preparations for the World Cup in China.

The Mississauga native built on that as one of two two-way players with the Raptors last season, spending time with both the parent club and their G-League affiliate, the 905s.

According to George, Brissett is not on a two-way contract this year which bodes well for him nailing down a full year with the parent club.

Newcomers to the camp this season include free agent signings C Aron Baynes, DeAndre’ Bembry, Alex Len, drafted rookies G Malachi Flynn and G Jalen Harris, as well as camp invitees SF Henry Ellenson, SF Alize Johnson, and F Yuta Watanabe.

QUICK HITS

As part of the league protocols dealing with the pandemic, the league will once again have an anonymous tip line to rat out players and staff not adhering to the league protocols. A handful of players, including then-Laker Dwight Howard, were reprimanded by the league for failing to wear a mask inside the bubble after calls to the tip line … In terms of the allowed size of a travelling party a team can take on the road, that number will be limited to 45 people, 17 of which will be players … Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has added one-time Celtic and recently retired player Evan Turner to his developmental staff. Turner played for 10 years in the league with six different franchises … The G-League season will go ahead this year, but will be played within a bubble in the Atlanta area. Toronto will not have the advantage of having its developmental team nearby this season as it did when the Raptors called Scotiabank Arena home and the 905’s were at the Hershey Centre. Still Toronto-Atlanta would have been a much bigger travel day than the Tampa-Atlanta situation the Raptors will at least begin 2020 with.

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