Play-In Tournament Will Return To The NBA

(official NBA release)

 – Board Also Approves Changes to Roster-Related Rules Regarding Two-Way Players and Active List –


NEW YORK, July 27, 2021 – The NBA Board of Governors today approved a proposal to continue the Play-In Tournament for the 2021-22 season.

The Play-In Tournament for the 2021-22 season, which was also agreed to by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), will follow the same format as the Play-In Tournament for the 2020-21 season.  The teams that finish the regular season with the seventh-highest through the 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference will compete to fill the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in each conference.

For the 2021-22 season, the Play-In Tournament will take place April 12-15, 2022, between the last day of the regular season on April 10 and the start of the playoffs on April 16.

Below are some key dates for the 2021-22 season.

  • Aug. 2: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents (6 p.m. ET)
  • Aug. 6: Teams can begin signing free agents (12:01 p.m. ET)
  • Aug. 8-17: MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
  • Sept. 28, 2021: Training camp begins
  • Oct. 19, 2021: Regular season begins
  • April 10, 2022: Regular season concludes
  • April 12-15, 2022: Play-In Tournament
  • April 16, 2022: Playoffs begin
  • June 2, 2022: NBA Finals begin
  • June 19, 2022: Game 7 of NBA Finals (if necessary)
  • June 23, 2022: NBA Draft


Roster-Related Rules

The NBA Board of Governors also approved changes to roster-related rules for the 2021-22 season regarding the use of two-way players during the regular season and the maximum number of players that a team may carry on its active list for a game.

The modifications, which were also agreed to by the NBPA, are consistent with the rules that were in place prior to the start of the 2020-21 season in order to provide teams with additional roster flexibility in light of potential ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19.

  • Two-Way Player Rules: For the 2021-22 season, each two-way player will be paid a flat salary equal to 50% of the minimum player salary applicable to a player with zero years of service.  A player under a two-way contract will be permitted to be on the NBA team’s active list for no more than 50 games during the regular season, with no limit on practices, workouts or other activities with the NBA team.  In addition, there will be no deadline for signing two-way contracts with respect to the 2021-22 season, a change from the rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that prohibits teams from signing a player to a two-way contract after Jan. 15 of any season.
  • Active List Rules: For the 2021-22 season, a team will be permitted to have up to 15 players on its active list for each game during the regular season, Play-In Tournament and playoffs.  This change will not impact the number of players a team can have under contract at any one time, which will remain at 17 (or 15 players under standard NBA contracts and two players under two-way contracts).