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The 2021-22 NBA season will be back to normal

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The NBA season will be back on its usual timeline for the 2021-22 season.

On Thursday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania revealed a handful of key dates for next season. As he noted, the October — June calendar marks a welcome return to normalcy.

Training camps will start on Sept. 28.

The regular season will tip-off on October 19, with the playoffs set to begin on April 16.

The 2022 Finals will run from June 2 to June 19, if it goes seven games.

Next year’s NBA Draft will be held on June 23.

Following a five-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 22 teams completed their 2019-20 campaign from July through October in the bubble, while eight teams began their offseasons in March 2020.

After initially indicating that the 2020-21 NBA season would begin in the New Year, the league and players association agreed to a 72-game condensed season beginning on Dec. 22, which gave teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat particularly short breaks. Both teams just went out in the first round.

“From the moment we entered the bubble, to now today, it’s been draining,” LeBron said following the Lakers’ Game 6 loss to the Phoenix Suns last week. “Mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally draining. Did not stop me from committing to the game, committing to my teammates, committing to the work…but it’s been mentally draining. Every team has to deal with it, but with us and Miami going the long haul in the bubble then coming right back on the short notice, it’s been very draining.”

One of the league’s primary motivators (other than money) was to finish the season prior to the Tokyo Olympics. Game 7 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for July 22, one day before the opening ceremony.

In addition to the standard timeline, next season — which will presumably be 82 games — will also be rid of inconvenient COVID protocols, and should feature more practice time and days off. This week, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reported that the grueling circumstances led to a historic spike in injuries in 2020-21, especially from star players.