Rockets to begin 2021-22 training camp in September, regular season in October

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The Houston Rockets and all other NBA teams are moving back to a more traditional calendar for the 2021-22 season.

As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league is planning a Sept. 28 start date to training camps and Oct. 19 to the regular season. That will make for the second consecutive year with an abbreviated offseason, though it won’t be nearly as dramatic as 2020 — when the NBA Finals ended in mid-October, and players reported to training camps in early December. This year, there will be over two months between the end of the 2021 playoffs and the start of training camps.

The idea, of course, is to get back to the league’s usual timetable of the regular season beginning each October and the NBA Finals taking place each June. The calendar was thrown off due to the long suspension of the 2019-20 season due to COVID-19, which caused a delay of over four months. In turn, TV ratings slipped, since the NBA faced rare competition from football season and Major League Baseball’s postseason.

But ratings are back on the rise in 2021, now that the league is closer to its usual calendar, and they hope to be fully back to normal by 2022.

With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines, many NBA arenas are operating at close to full capacity in the 2021 playoffs. Barring any unforeseen setbacks, that should allow the Rockets and Toyota Center to welcome fans this fall at close to the “normal” capacity of 18,300. In turn, that should put an end to the socially distanced crowds of 3,500 or less that attended games during the 2020-21 pandemic season.

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