Adam Silver said this is what he wanted, to get through this season twisted by the pandemic and get back on a normal schedule — with full NBA buildings — next season.
A memo sent to teams about the key dates for next season details just that. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news, and the Associated Press, among others, have reported on the memo. It details the key dates of next season as:
• September 28, 2021: Training camps open
• October 19, 2021: NBA season opens
• February 20, 2022: NBA All-Star Game, in Cleveland
• April 16, 2022: Playoffs begin
• June 2, 2022: NBA Finals begin
• June 19, 2022: Last possible date for NBA Finals Game 7
• June 23, 2022: NBA draft
• July 1, 2022: NBA free agency opens
The one key date not in there is the final date for regular season games. As reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, that is because the NBA Board of Governors (the owners) have not officially approved the return of the play-in tournament for next season. However, that is considered a mere formality at this point. With the play-in games, the regular season would end on April 10.
The turnaround from the end of the Finals this year (July 22 is expected to be Game 7, if necessary) to the start of training camps would be 68 days. That is more than the 51 the Lakers and Heat got this season, but still less than a traditional offseason.
The key dates sent to teams signal a return to a schedule that sees teams play every other team in their division four times, most of the other teams in their conference four times (but a few three), and most of the teams in the other conference twice (although a few once).
It will also return to a more spaced out schedule with rest built in, as opposed to the condensed one this season that saw teams playing every other day, getting limited recovery time, leading to an increase in injuries.