With the second round of the NBA playoffs in full swing, all but eight teams have already shifted gears towards offseason mode, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
The league has come a long way since it was faced with an unprecedented challenge in finishing the season amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic last year. The NBA is now nearing a full-fledged return to normalcy with fans now back in the stands and the postseason playing out at teams’ respective arenas instead of a bubble.
The time frame for this season was pushed back as a result of the pandemic, which resulted in a significantly shortened offseason for teams like the Lakers and Miami Heat that were still fresh off an NBA Finals appearance. Regardless, it seems this has allowed the league to inch closer back to its traditional timeline.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, key dates for the 2021-22 season show things are getting back to its initial schedule prior to the pandemic:
Sources: Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season:
Sept. 28: Training camp starts
Oct. 19: Regular season starts
April 16: Playoffs start
June 2: Finals Game 1
June 19: Finals Game 7
June 23: 2022 NBA Draft
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 10, 2021
The key dates for major events like the start of training camp, NBA Finals and the 2022 NBA Draft line up with when they have been held in recent years. While a new pair of championship hopefuls will once again experience a shorter offseason than usual, the league is finally making its way back to the original schedule.
It is safe to say that the Lakers are going to relish having more than four months to recover following a grueling stretch over the last two seasons. Although their untimely exit in the first round of the playoffs was hardly ideal, there is a silver lining in the fact that LeBron James and Anthony Davis will have ample time to get back to full health.
Vogel on potential offseason changes
Although injuries to key players certainly took their toll on the Purple and Gold this season, there is no question that this seemingly revamped roster fell short of expectations even when they were healthy. As a result, this has led to plenty of speculation regarding how this group will look outside of James and Davis.
Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marc Gasol are the only other players with a guaranteed contract for next season. Even though Frank Vogel is confident in the current personnel, he acknowledged that changes to the roster are inevitable in their attempts to fine-tune things around the All-Star duo.
“Yeah, obviously those two are going to be the core. Like I said, we’ll see how the roster shapes up for next year, but we believe in the group that we have this year. We’d love to have an opportunity to run it back at full strength, but obviously, there’s always going to be tweaks to the roster.”
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