NBA 2021-22 season: Five things fans need to know before opening game
From expanding the number of teams to Kyrie Irving's no-vaccine stance, here's a look at some of the important developments ahead of the new season
There's less than 24 hours to go before two stalwart sides tip-off at the Staples Center, Los Angeles marking the start of the NBA 2021-22 season. After a pandemic-riddled 2020 season that saw the Milwaukee Bucks reign supreme, there was a hint of normalcy as the new edition looms. For starters, there is that complete 82-game regular season for teams, and also the return of the crowds with a string of terms and conditions.
Over the course of the offseason and preseason, there were enough developments and much of the spotlight was on Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets star who's stance to not take the vaccine has been generating the headlines for a few weeks now. Talking about the point guard's decision, NBA commissioner Adam Silver hoped things would change. This just happens to be one of the talking points ahead of the tournament that has seen a mileage of 75 years. And while we wait for the ultimate LeBron James vs Stephen Curry contest, here are five things you need to know.
Expanding the league
There are currently 30 teams in the NBA, and earlier this year, reports of two new franchises being added did the rounds. With the NBA in dire need of more revenue after Covid-19 wreaked havoc, there are reports of the league looking at potentially adding two new teams that would offer a lot of relief, and by the looks of it, Las Vegas and Seattle look to be prime frontrunners.
With no fans in arenas, the profits took a tumble, and even though there is no price tag the league has accurately offered, ESPN's Brian Windhorst says the NBA has been considering an expansion fee of 2.5 billion apiece for two new teams, "with multiple offers expected from Las Vegas and Seattle-based groups." This would mean the price floated would be the highest sale price. CBS Sports reckoned that these fees tend to be inflated. Talking about the possibility, Silver said,there would be more developments only when the league is “fully through the pandemic and operating on all cylinders."
A part of European soccer, the in-season tournament has been doing the rounds for awhile now, and the idea is to see if the model could be incorporated in the NBA. “I think we’re still in the process of formulating what would be the best proposal for all concerned,” Silver said, ahead of the start of the new season according to the Washington Times.
Kyrie Irving can't play till he's vaccinated
Following his decision, Irving cannot play for the Nets in large part because of rules unique to New York and San Francisco that require vaccinations as a prerequisite for working. The franchise said last week that Irving would not be involved in any team activities “until he is eligible to be a full participant.”
What about the Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball trade?
At the time of writing, there still are no concrete answers from the league investigations into the sign-and-trade deals that sent Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls and Kyle Lowry to the Miami Heat this summer. The investigations are trying to determine if the franchises broke league rules by making contact with the players prior to the opening of the NBA’s negotiating window.
Los Angeles are yet to win on opening night since LeBron joined the Lakers
The Lakers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in their 2020 season opener. Prior to that was a loss against the same team in 2019 and to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2018. They will look to change things around this time, however, they will be up against a stellar Curry and his efficent offensive unit.