The NBA has informed teams of key dates for the 2021-22 season, per The Athletic's Shams Charania, showing signs of a return to normalcy with at least a traditional timeline of events after the last two seasons were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were pushes to shift the NBA calendar permanently to start the season later than the fall to avoid competition with football, it appears as though the league prefers to get things back to how they were, at least for the next season.
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Here are the reported key dates for the 2021-22 season:
- Sept. 28: Training camp starts
- Oct. 19: Regular season starts
- April 16: Playoffs start
- June 2: Finals Game 1
- June 19: Finals Game 7
- June 23: 2022 NBA Draft
The main thing that sticks out about the new key dates is the start date for training camp and the regular season. While teams who didn't make the playoffs or were sent home packing early will benefit from the nearly three months of a break, the teams and players who make a deep run in the postseason won't have too much of a break. The 2021 NBA Finals aren't expected to start until July 8, with the possibility of a Game 7 happening on July 22. So for those two teams competing in the finals, It's going to be a shorter offseason to get some rest before training camp starts.
That will also be true for players who plan to compete in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. There are several players from many countries who will be competing in Olympic qualifying tournaments with the hopes of playing in the Tokyo Games, which run from July 23-Aug. 8. So while the league will get back to its regular schedule for next season, it may come at the price of another condensed offseason for those who will be playing deep into the playoffs or in the summer Olympics.