Each of the last two NBA season have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the 2019-20 campaign featuring a gigantic gap in the middle before the Orlando Bubble and the 2020-21 season needing to start in December. Now, after plenty of rumblings of what the future will hold, the league will try to use the upcoming year to get back on track.
The NBA announced all of the key dates for the next season of basketball, beginning with teams and players being allowed to negotiate deals at 6 p.m. EST on Aug. 2, 2021. The biggest announcement, though, is that the league will indeed start “on time,” with the 2021-22 season tipping off on the evening of Oct. 19, 2021.
Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/nbwcIvRHZH
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 27, 2021
Everything in here is what you’d normally expect out of an NBA season, although it does include a fun twist in the play-in tournament coming back next year. After being introduced ahead of the 2021 playoffs, NBA commissioner Adam Silver made clear that he wanted it to return, and while things were trending in that direction, this officially means that it will return next year. The NBA did truncate the number of games it played last season from the normal 82 to 72, and it has not yet been announced whether it will get back to an 82-game campaign next year.