October is officially here, which means the 2021-22 NBA season is just three weeks away.
This month, the NBA will return to a traditional 82-game schedule for the first time in two years.
In March 2020, Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the postponement of the Utah Jazz's matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Shortly after, the league decided to suspend the entire fixture calendar to protect players, staff and fans from the coronavirus.
The season reconvened on July 30, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, where 22 teams played eight more games. The NBA Board of Governors also introduced a play-in tournament in the Western Conference to determine its remaining playoff berth.
The concept returned in the following shortened season, with the seventh through 10th seeds in each conference playing for the chance to compete in the playoffs. In July 2021, the Board of Governors approved an October start date along with another play-in tournament.
2021-22 Key Dates
Oct. 19, 2021: Regular season begins
Feb. 20, 2022: NBA All-Star Game, Cleveland, Ohio
April 10, 2022: Regular season concludes
April 12-15, 2022: Play-in tournament
April 16, 2022: Playoffs begin
June 2, 2022: NBA Finals begin
June 19, 2022: Game 7 of NBA Finals (if necessary)
June 23, 2022: NBA draft
The 71st edition of the NBA All-Star game is to take place in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. The festivities surrounding the annual exhibition game are slated for Feb. 18, 2022, according to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission's website. This seems to imply that it will be a three-day event again this year.
In March, the NBA website unveiled the logos for the 2022 edition of the All-Star Game, which will be played on February 20. This might be subject to change, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus is still a concern.
The NBA hasn't announced a date for the 2022 trade deadline, but it usually takes place after the All-Star break. This year, it occurred on Mar. 25, so one could assume that it may land on a similar date next spring.
On the surface, it seems like the NBA is finally getting back to normal, but there is still some lingering uncertainty. Nevertheless, training camp is underway, and everything appears to be set to go ahead as scheduled.