NBA to Return to its Pre-Pandemic Season Schedule Next Season

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  • The NBA issued a memo to its teams on Thursday informing them of its intention to return to its traditional schedule for the 2021-22 season.
  • The 2021-22 NBA season is expected to start on October 19th, with Game 7 of the Finals (if necessary) scheduled for June 19, 2022.
  • This season, the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers had the shooters offseason of any team in the history of the league at just 71 days.

After seeing two straight seasons shortened and altered by the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA will return to its normal schedule during the 2021-22 season.

The league reportedly told its teams on Thursday that it intends to return to its pre-pandemic schedule next season with training camp starting in September and an October 2021 season opening.

There were some talks last year that the NBA might embrace the change by moving its traditional calendar back by a couple of months permanently. But those conversations died quickly after TV ratings plummeted during last season’s playoffs which took place during the summer.

Opening Night on October 19th

In a memo sent to its teams, the NBA said that it intends to start its 2021-22 season on October 19th, with the playoffs targeted for April 16th. Compared to this season’s condensed 72-game regular season schedule, teams will have an an additional month of regular season play which is similar to the pre-pandemic years.

This year’s condensed and busy schedule has been blamed for the unprecedented number of injuries to players, including key players from different teams. According to an ESPN report, All-Star players missed a total of 15% of the 2020-21 regular season due to injuries.

The 2022 NBA draft also returns to its familiar setting in June, shortly after the end of the playoffs and closer to the end of the college season. Next year’s draft has been penciled for June 23, 2022 while this year’s draft will take place on July 29th. The 2020 NBA Draft was held on November 18, 2020.

Other important dates include September 28, 2021 which is the first day of training camp and June 2, 2022 which will be Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals. If the NBA Finals goes the full route, Game 7 will be held on June 19, 2022.

Lakers Had Shortest Offseason in League History

The Los Angeles Lakers had the shortest offseason in NBA history with only 71 days between their final game of the 2019-20 season and first game of the 2020-21 season. The short break led to injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James and ultimately led to their first round exit.

This season’s NBA Finals are expected to start on July 8th, and will end on July 22nd if it goes to a Game 7. With the 2021-22 campaign set to tip off on October 19th, this year’s finalists will have an estimated 89 calendar days between two seasons. However, with training camp beginning September 28th, this year’s NBA finalists will have 68 calendar days without basketball activities.

Likewise, NBA players who will represent their countries in the Tokyo Olympics will have a shorter break than the rest of the league. The Summer Games will run from July 23 to August 8th, thereby cutting some players’ breaks even further.

And then there are players whose countries will still have to play qualifying tournaments with the hopes of making the Olympics so it’s going to be a hectic offseason for these cagers.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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