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League announces key dates for 2021-22 NBA season

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2021 NBA Finals - Milwaukee Bucks v. Phoenix Suns Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

After the COVID-19 global pandemic affected the calendars of both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 NBA seasons, it would appear that the league is ready to take another step back to normal heading into the 2021-22 campaign. The league released its key dates for next season this afternoon, and the season will return to its familiar October through June timeframe:

With Thursday night’s draft serving as a huge inflection point in the ongoing “Will he stay or will he go?” Ben Simmons saga, the next date to keep an eye on would be the beginning of the free ageny negotiation period on August 2. Ideally, teams with cap space that wanted to get involved in a Simmons deal (either directly or as a third party) would want the transaction to go down before they started pursuing other options with which to fill said cap space. I’m sure Daryl Morey’s phone will be busy over the next week.

More generally, it will be great to have NBA Summer League back in our lives in a couple weeks, after the league went without one last offseason. Between that and the Olympics, we have plenty of basketball to stave off withdrawal this summer.

The other big news was the Board of Governors voting to return the Play-In Tournament for another season. Those games made for terrific drama, particularly last year’s Lakers-Warriors contest, so it’s not surprising the league wants to take another look at the format. Hopefully, it’s not something the Sixers will have to worry about next April.

Training camp is just 63 days away, and the start of the regular season just 84. This league truly never sleeps.