The 2020-21 NBA season was unlike any other, with a 72-game season in a condensed timeframe, starting in late December and ending in May. There were plenty of rightful complaints about the condensed season, with the league pushing to avoid spilling over into the Olympics at the behest of broadcast partners, and there have been reasonable questions asked about whether the hurried season was a cause for the spike in soft tissue injuries we saw this year.
On top of the Olympics time crunch, the chief reason for hurrying through this season so soon after the Bubble was that the NBA wanted to get back to a normal season timeframe as soon as possible, and it appears they succeeded in doing so just one year after the Bubble. On Thursday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the league sent all 30 teams a memo with key dates for the 2021-22 season, which will see training camps begin in late September, the regular season start in mid-October, and the Finals end in late June followed by the Draft per usual.
Sources: Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA 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
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 10, 2021
There was some legitimate wonder if the league would shift permanently to a new schedule that avoided more of the NFL and college football season during the Bubble last year, but it’s clear that wasn’t something the league really wanted to do and players voiced their displeasure with the idea of losing the summer as their offseason. The 2020-21 season was seemingly the means to the end in terms of getting back to normal, and it seems the league has succeeded in getting back to where they wanted to be.