NBA 2021-2022 Regular Season
By Leah Ally
Volume 2 Issue 6
April 14, 2022
Image provided by The Washington Post
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has recently finished its 76th regular season, as the playoffs begin to kick off with its most competitive twenty teams. After two abbreviated seasons owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, the NBA returned to an entire 82-game regular season in its customary mid-October to mid-April schedule for the first time since the 2018-2019 NBA season. For instance, the 2019-2020 season was delayed until late July or early August, while the 2020-2021 season began in December and concluded in the middle of July. Throughout the season, only the cities of Los Angeles, Toronto, New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia have implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates for fans at sporting events. While the majority of the league’s players (about 95 percent) have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 97% are fully vaccinated with two doses, players in these identified markets who refused to be vaccinated were not eligible to play in home games throughout most of the season. In addition, the NBA has stated these players would be forced to forfeit money for the missed games. An example of this regulation can be shown from the Brooklyn Nets’s star point guard, Kyrie Irving, who recently made his debut in Barclays Center for the first time this year on March 27th, shortly after New York City ended its vaccine mandate. As a result of his refusal to receive the vaccine, Kyrie lost out on $380,000 every game he missed, making it a total of about $17 million that was cut from his paycheck this year. As of right now, there has been a total of 11 games postponed due to COVID-19 cases and have been successfully rescheduled. On August 2nd, 2021, the free agency began. Longtime Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry announced his decision to sign a long-term contract with the Miami Heat. In addition, young star Lonzo Ball announced he would be signing a four-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, joining fellow free agency signing Demar Derozan. The Los Angeles Clippers re-signed superstar Kawhi Leonard, and the Phoenix Suns re-signed superstar Chris Paul. The Brooklyn Nets extended Kevin Durant to a four-year $198 million deal in the East. Not only did the 2021-2022 season offer numerous notable free agency signings, but many transactions and retirement announcements took place. The biggest deal of 2022 happened just hours before the deadline when the Brooklyn Nets agreed to a trade between sending James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, making it an impactful move for both Eastern Conference contenders. That deal followed a huge one when the Damian Lillard-CJ McCollum era in Portland ended. He joined the New Orleans Pelicans, where he would play alongside Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. The Sacramento Kings then traded All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday to the Indiana Pacers for promising second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson. Some notable retirees this season include JJ Redick (37 yrs. old), Chandler Parsons (33 yrs. old), Tyson Chandler (38 yrs. old), J.R Smith (35 yrs. old), and Jamal Crawford (42 yrs. old). From April 12-15, 2022, the NBA will host a play-in tournament for clubs placed 7th through 10th in each conference. The club in seventh place will host the team in eighth place, with the winner earning the seventh seed in the playoffs. The team in the ninth position will face the club in tenth place, with the loser being eliminated from postseason contention. The loser of the 7th-8th place game will next host the winner of the 9th – 10th place game, with the winner earning the 8th seed and the loser being eliminated. As the 2022 NBA playoffs are the main topic of discussion, the playoffs will begin on April 16th. The finals are planned to start on June 2nd, with a possible game seven on June 19th.