The Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season for violating team policies, the team announced Thursday night, with no guarantee that he will return.
The Celtics made the announcement Thursday at 9:21 p.m., but didn’t elaborate.
A statement from the Celtics read: “The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. His future with the Celtics beyond this season will be affected.” A decision will be taken at a later date. The suspension will be effective immediately.”
First reported on Wednesday night, Udoka was being suspended after having an inappropriately intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff, which, according to multiple reports, was considered a violation of the organization’s code of conduct. goes
Iduka released a statement, published by ESPN, that read: “I want to apologize to my players, the fans, the entire organization and my family for letting them down. I apologize for putting the team through this difficult situation. Be that as it may, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further.
The Celtics did not say in the release whether they will hold a press conference to address Idoka’s suspension. Media Day is scheduled for this Monday.
Details of the developing situation remain, but on the eve of training camp, news of Udoka’s suspension is a surprising development and presents a major hurdle that could derail a Celtics season with high expectations. Udoka, in his first season, led the Celtics to an impressive midseason turnaround and a run to the NBA Finals. Three months later, the C’s enter this season as the favorite to win the NBA Championship.
Aduka, 45, became a head coach for the first time last year when the Celtics hired him to replace Brad Stevens, who took over as KC’s president of basketball operations. Iduka, who played seven seasons in the NBA, was a longtime assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich and had two other assistant jobs before joining the C’s. After a rough start to his first season, the Celtics acquired Udoka as he turned into one of the best defenses in the NBA, and the players praised him.
Marcus Smart said, “When you have a coach who is willing to hold you accountable, and not just you, but everyone on the team, that’s how you know you have a great coach. is trying to get to a certain place.” During the NBA Finals last June.
According to multiple reports, the Celtics are expected to hire assistant coach Joe Mazzulla as interim coach in Udoka’s absence. Mazzolla, 34, is a Rhode Island native who starred for Bishop Hendricken High School before playing college basketball in West Virginia, but he doesn’t have extensive coaching experience. Mazzulla’s only head coaching job came at Fairmont State, a Division 2 school in West Virginia where he coached for two seasons before being hired as Stevens’ assistant in 2019.
Still, Mazzulla is highly respected in the Celtics organization. When Udoka was hired last year, Mazzulla was the only holdover from Stevens’ staff to serve as an assistant. Mazzulla coached the Celtics’ summer league team in 2021 and also interviewed for the Utah Jazz opening this summer — before fellow Celtics assistant Will Hardy got the job — though he’s not a front-bench assistant with the C’s. Is.
“I love Joe,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said in June. “I think just being around him … you can tell how passionate he is about the guys and his craft. He’s got a lot more knowledge, more detail, just vocal. More comfortable in the role. You’ve seen the growth since his first year.
“He’s helped me a lot as a player and as a person. I can’t say enough good things about Joe. Everyone appreciates him, what he brings to this team. I’m glad that our The pass is that.
After a promising offseason that included the acquisition of Malcolm Brogdon, it has turned upside down as the C’s head into camp. Danilo Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee, and Rob Williams will miss the start of the season for left knee surgery. Now, Udoka’s suspension has created great uncertainty about the Celtics’ future.
The Celtics opened training camp on Tuesday.