It sort of feels like the Toronto Raptors and Masai Ujiri are looking for love on the Bachelor these days. Picture this: Ujiri handing out roses to mayors of major American cities vying for the rights to host the Raptors next season if Canada keeps its border closed to American travel.
The first impressions rose certainly didn't go to Louisville. Louisville was first reported as a possible destination for the Raptors by Yahoo's Vincent Goodwill. The report was quickly dispelled by Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Tim Sullivan and it was later revealed by WBRB's Rick Bozich that any discussions were halted when Raptors player voiced their reluctance to play in the city because of the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police.
Since then other cities including Buffalo, Newark, and Kansas City have all popped up as potential destinations vying for the Raptors.
Kansas City gained noteworthiness when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II retweeted a Bleacher Report story about the Raptors looking for a home next season.
His tweet was subsequently retweeted by Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas who tweeted "Working on it."
On Tuesday morning the mayor made another plea for the team in his weather update.
If not Kansas City, which seems unlikely, the city of Buffalo makes a lot of sense for the Raptors considering its proximity to the city and the success the Toronto Blue Jays had playing their games at Sahlen Field. Buffalo has the KeyBank Center which is viable for NBA games, but it might conflict with NHL games, as The Athletic's John Hollinger reported.
Another option could be playing at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, as The New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy suggested. The arena is home to Seton Hall's basketball program and would be an adequate spot for NBA games next year.
Ultimately, the Raptors are still working hard to play their games in Toronto next year and are "hopeful" it can happen, as TSN's Josh Lewenberg reported, but until the border opens up permanently, contingency plans should be considered.