In any other year, N.B.A. teams would be gearing up for a new season right now. A champion would have been crowned in June. Free agents would have signed big deals in July. Everyone would have gone on vacation in August.
But this year, the N.B.A. is still trying to complete its old season, the one that began nearly a year ago. It’s been a long 12 months of basketball — and so much more.
The Prelude: A Summer of Change
Major trades and a chaotic free agency period shifted the N.B.A.’s hierarchy.
Jimmy Butler joined the Miami Heat from Philadelphia in a deal that was overshadowed at the time but has proved critical during the postseason.