When does the 2021 NBA season start?


From a four-month hiatus for most NBA teams to a playoff bubble in Orlando, the 2020 season has been the most unique in the league's history.

As the NBA postseason comes to a close, here's all the information you need to about the latest developments of when the 2021 season will begin. 

NBA start date: Dec. 22

The NBA and NBA player' union finalized an agreement to begin the 2020-21 season on December 22, Monday. Teams will play a 72-game schedule and the league hopes to have fans in the stands at some point during the year. 

The league also agreed in principle to an amendment to the CBA, setting the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds for the upcoming season.

Some owners were unsure of the league's ability to pull off starting a season by then, so an alternative of Martin Luther King weekend was floated as an idea. However, it appears the league is going forward with a season tip-off near Christmas.

Here's a look at the timeline at what previous dates were reported: 

Upcoming NBA calendar for 2021 season

Draft Combine: The NBA Draft Combine will be done virtually starting on September 28 through early-to-mid-November., the league announced.

NBA Draft: The NBA Draft is scheduled for Wednesday, November 18, per Adrian Wojnarowski (pushed back from previous date of October 16).

Free Agency: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. EST on November 20, two days after the NBA Draft. The salary cap and luxury tax will remain the same as last season.


Training Camp: Training camp is scheduled to start on December 1. Free agents and draft picks will have roughly two weeks to get acclimated to their new teams before the start of camp.

All-Star Game: The All-Star break is scheduled for March 5-10. The actual All-Star Weekend has been canceled, as host city Indianapolis will get the festivities in 2024.

Play-in tournament: May 18-21

Playoffs: May 22-July 22