NBA rumors: Play-In Tournament officially back for the 2021-22 season

The NBA Board of Governors today approved a proposal to continue the Play-In Tournament for the 2021-22 season. The Play-In Tournament for the 2021-22 season, which was also agreed to by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), will follow the same format as the Play-In Tournament for the 2020-21 season. The teams that finish the regular season with the seventh-highest through the 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference will compete to fill the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in each conference.

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Below are some key dates for the 2021-22 season. • Aug. 2: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents (6 p.m. ET) • Aug. 6: Teams can begin signing free agents (12:01 p.m. ET) • Aug. 8-17: MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas • Sept. 28, 2021: Training camp begins • Oct. 19, 2021: Regular season begins • 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
Kyle Goon: The Lakers have the 2021-22 preseason schedule set. pic.twitter.com/iXJg4idAia

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Shams Charania: Bucks-Suns NBA Finals: Game 1: July 6 Game 2: July 8 Game 3: July 11 Game 4: July 14 Game 5*: July 17 Game 6*: July 20 Game 7*: July 22
And we aren’t even talking about the demands of the local broadcasters these teams rely on or the complication of the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to begin July 23. From the team executives I talk to, the Tokyo factor was an underrated schedule pressure.
Sources said the league disagrees that the schedule or short offseason has increased injuries or wear and tear on players or that it has limited the amount of time for rest and recovery. Citing internal data, the league says injuries rate similarly to last season. Officials note that in a normal calendar year, teams play 82 games and return after 14 weeks off. Over this two-year period, the average team played 20 fewer games than it would've played in such a stretch and had an additional two months off. Of course, those numbers don't take into account the complicating factors wrought by the pandemic, such as early testing times or other elements tied to COVID-19 protocols.

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Michael Singer: NBA just announced Nuggets-Suns Round 2 schedule. No extra off days except, potentially, ahead of Game 7.

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https://twitter.com/townbrad/status/1400899698592976897
Among the questions that the league likely still needs to address to teams: Could franchises be assured -- especially those in big markets -- that there wouldn't be gate revenue losses by shortening the regular season to 78 games to accommodate the tournament? Some teams had been hesitant to incur short-term losses on potentially losing two home dates, especially when those games had been worth anywhere between $2.5 million and $4 million in pre-pandemic times.

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JD Shaw: Here’s the Sunday slate: pic.twitter.com/gpor8tLdO1

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The NBA announced today that NBA Draft 2021 presented by State Farm® will take place on Thursday, July 29, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The first round will be televised by ESPN and ABC, and the second round will air on ESPN.
Subject to evolving public health conditions, Microsoft Surface NBA Draft Combine 2021 is scheduled to take place Monday, June 21 through Sunday, June 27. ESPN networks plan to televise the NBA Draft Combine, with coverage featuring five-on-five games and strength and agility testing.
The deadline for an early entry player to apply for this year’s NBA Draft is Sunday, May 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The deadline for an early entry player to withdraw from the NBA Draft is Monday, July 19 at 5 p.m. ET.
Shams Charania: The 2021 NBA Draft will be on July 29, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. NBA Draft Lottery will be on June 22. Draft Combine scheduled for June 21-27.
Fred Katz: Adam Silver on the possibilities of a playoff bubble: "We’re not considering going back to a bubble right now. I don’t rule anything out…The virus is firmly in charge, so we need to adjust to circumstances as they present themselves."
Tom Orsborn: Poeltl on the jam-packed 2nd half sked: "Just means we need to be on top of things (rest & recovery). We are aware it is not going to be easy, but we are not going to use it as an excuse. It is what it is. A lot of teams have to deal with the same type of stuff."
Although the NBA's goal is to have every team play its scheduled 72 games, sources said the league is cognizant of the fact that all 30 teams might not be able to reach that number. There is limited flexibility within the schedule to add games, or to add dates on the calendar, as the NBA wants to get the playoffs completed on time before the scheduled start of the Olympic Games in late July.
The NBA today released its game schedule and broadcast schedules for TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and ESPN Radio for the Second Half of the 2020-21 regular season, which will begin Wednesday, March 10 and conclude Sunday, May 16. The Second Half of the regular season will be followed by the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament (May 18-21) and the 2021 NBA Playoffs, which will tip off Saturday, May 22. The Play-In Tournament will determine the teams that will fill the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in each conference. The teams with the seventh-highest through the tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference will qualify for the Play-In Tournament.
The game schedules across TNT and ESPN for the final week of the regular season (May 10-16) will be determined at a later date in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience leading into the NBA Play-In Tournament and the NBA Playoffs. In the final week of the regular season, TNT will present doubleheaders Tuesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 13, and ESPN will televise doubleheaders Wednesday, May 12 and Friday, May 14. ESPN will also air a game Sunday, May 16 on the final day of the regular season. TNT will tip off its coverage of the Second Half of the season Thursday, March 11 with a doubleheader as the Brooklyn Nets host the Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and the Golden State Warriors visit the LA Clippers (10 p.m. ET). ESPN will begin its Second Half coverage Sunday, March 14 when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Clippers (9 p.m. ET). On Monday, March 15, ESPN’s first doubleheader in the Second Half will feature the New York Knicks visiting the Nets (8 p.m. ET) and the Lakers taking on the Warriors in San Francisco (10:30 p.m. ET).
Barry Jackson: Per source, Lakers-at-Heat will be April 8, a Thursday, on TNT. .. Heat's other TNT game in second half of season is home against Portland on March 25, also a Thursday. Schedule being announced this afternoon.
Ohm Youngmisuk: The Clippers will have 7 back-to-backs in the upcoming second half portion of the schedule. They have one stretch where they play nine straight home games. And they finish the season with a four-game road swing in six days at Toronto, Charlotte, Houston and OKC.

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JD Shaw: The NBA has re-scheduled two games: pic.twitter.com/IPORA7AyM8

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Tim Bontemps: Tom Thibodeau says he hopes that the two-game series are "here to stay." Says he thinks most of the people in the league like it, also.
Kellan Olson: The Suns' postponed game on Jan. 15 against the Warriors will now take place on March 4. That is 2 day after the Suns' previously scheduled last game of the first half against the Lakers on March 2. All-Star break starts March 5. Suns were gonna break early but not anymore.

https://twitter.com/JShawNBA/status/1354954514613284874
In an effort to combat the piling up of games due to postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA on Wednesday said it will adjust the existing schedule to avoid having to fill in too many games during the second half of the season. To do so, the NBA will do two things: reschedule games that have already been postponed, where possible, between now and the league's scheduled midseason break in early March; and reschedule games to the second half of the season -- which has yet to be announced -- in order to squeeze in more games where possible in the first half.
Washington’s second-half schedule might not be as jam-packed as first thought, after the NBA said Wednesday it was rescheduling some Wizards games after a half-dozen of their contests were postponed in recent weeks for virus-related reasons. Portland will now visit Washington on Tuesday, a game that was originally set for the second half. Washington will play at Charlotte on Feb. 7, a game that was rescheduled from Jan. 20. And that means the Blazers, who were scheduled to visit the Hornets that day, will now go to Charlotte in the second half of the schedule.
Shams Charania: NBA will reschedule certain postponed games in first half of the season -- instead of the second half. Changes: - Blazers-Wizards: Feb. 2, (previously second half) - Wizards-Hornets: Feb. 7 (previously Jan. 20) - Blazers-Hornets Feb. 7: postponed to second half
JD Shaw: Some scheduling updates from the NBA: pic.twitter.com/BCIURtsLRG

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Marc J. Spears: Several changes to the NBA schedule: pic.twitter.com/MVCl44hyUz

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A day after Golden State played its second of two straight games against Portland, Kerr said, “I don’t think fans want to see the same team back-to-back. I think they’d rather see them a few months apart. Teams change. Seeing us now compared to three months from now is totally different. That’s part of the fun part of being a fan. You get to see a team evolve.”
In the not so distant past, fallible humans came up with the schedule for our sports leagues. It was a painstaking, manual process. In the NFL, the late Val Pinchbeck would slowly piece together the entire football slate on a giant pegboard. Other leagues had too many games to fit on a pegboard, but they employed similarly artisanal methods of mapping the future. Matt Winick was the NBA’s Val Pinchbeck, the man who slowly, personally constructed the 1,230 game schedule within a tornado of yellow legal pads. He did it for three decades, and in his latter years on the job, used the trappings of modernity as a means to shift blame. As Winick told Howard Beck in a 2015 Bleacher Report story: “I tell the teams, ‘Hey, that’s the way the computer did it. But it was never the computer. I was the computer.”
Efficiency is sought as you hit the big time. TV partners are paying out expensive contracts, like that $2.66 billion the NBA gets annually from ESPN and TNT. Nothing can be left to chance, so everything can’t be left to one man. As one NFL executive once told the Los Angeles Times, “In the 10 years that I’ve been doing this, the computer sophistication has grown exponentially. So now we have not only the ability but the mandate to take all these considerations in parallel.” The same article says of the recent changes, “There has been a significant paradigm shift since those days when the schedule was built, and then games were distributed to the networks. Now, TV is a consideration from the start, and there are several marquee games that are essentials around which the schedule is constructed.”
Indeed, the power of national television in the NBA ecosystem is such that the league has rushed back for an opening night in December despite having just ended its season in mid October — an extreme maneuver even if justified. The NBA set a sports record for shortest ever offseason against the protestations of LeBron James because a) Sacrificing Christmas Day games can’t happen and b) They never want to repeat the experience of losing playoff viewership to the NFL ever again.
Each team will play 72 games in the 2020-21 season, facing each opponent in its conference three times (42 total games per team) and each opponent in the other conference twice (30 total games per team). In the First Half, each team will play 37 or 38 games, including a minimum of 17 home games and a maximum of 20. Nearly 52% of all regular-season games (558 of 1,080) have been scheduled for the First Half.
The schedule incorporates steps to reduce travel, including the use of a “series” model. In some instances where a team is scheduled to play twice in one market, those games have been scheduled to be played consecutively. Each team will play an average of four “series” in the First Half – two at home and two on the road. Additional steps include more instances of teams playing consecutive road games against teams that are geographically close, and roughly 50% fewer instances of teams making single-game road trips.

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Stefan Bondy: The Knicks are scheduled to host Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the Nets on Jan. 13, according to a source. Russell Westbrook, now on the Wizards, is scheduled to play his old teammate Kevin Durant on Jan. 3, according to a source.
Fred Katz: SCHEDULE NEWS: John Wall’s return to DC as a member of the Rockets is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 15, according to a source. Russell Westbrook’s return to Houston scheduled tentatively for Jan. 26. The illustrious @Chase Hughes first with the news.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Tentative Christmas Day Schedule

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Shams Charania: NBA Preseason begins on Dec. 11, running through Dec. 19: Lakers-Clippers, New York-Detroit, Orlando-Atlanta, Houston-Chicago, Sacramento-Portland.

http://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1332434061093179395
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September 28, 2021 | 5:08 am EDT Update