The Toronto Raptors are currently the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference and appear well on their way to a playoff birth this season.  Their seeding could have a major effect on the rest of the Eastern Conference playoffs due to a pair of vaccine mandates.

One is Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for travelers, which does not allow unvaccinated players (or other unvaccinated travelers) into the country without a 14-day quarantine. Another is the U.S.’ own rule requiring players on temporary visas (and other prospective immigrants) to be vaccinated in order to reenter the U.S. after leaving.

This could have major circumstances for whoever the Raptors get matched up against in the first round of the playoffs. ESPN NBA insider Tim Bontemps reported Wednesday that the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks have confirmed that their team is fully vaccinated ahead of the playoffs. However, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers declined to comment on their team vaccination status to Bontemps, meaning that it is entirely possible that players from either of those teams could potentially miss games if they play in Toronto this postseason.

This news certainly got the NBA world talking, with many seeing this as a clear advantage for the Raptors this postseason.

There is still a lot of wiggle room for seeding in the Eastern Conference in terms of seeding at this point, so it is unclear who will be playing Toronto in the playoffs.

Whoever it is may be at a disadvantage this postseason. But at this point, the players knew the rules and this possibility, so they will have to live with the result whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. (And as some of the above reactions note, the Raptors previously got the other end of this from their relocation to Tampa for the 2020-21 season.)


About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.