In reaction to “violations of team policies,” the Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the full 2022–23 season, the team revealed on Thursday. The Boston Celtics will decide on Ime Udoka’s future after this season at a later time, and his suspension will take effect right away.
ESPN is reporting that the temporary coach will be Joe Mazzulla, an assistant coach. There was no news on who will take over the team in the press release from the Boston Celtics announcing Udoka’s suspension.
Ime Udoka had an excellent first season with the Celtics
Ime Udoka had an excellent first season with the Celtics, helping Boston defeat Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and Miami en route to the NBA Finals. The Celtics finished the regular season at 51-31, with Ime Udoka going 26-6 in the final 32 games. The Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in the championship series in six games.
A team that is widely regarded as one of the favorites to compete for an NBA championship this season will suffer a severe setback if they lose Ime Udoka.
In reaction to Boston’s declaration, Ime Udoka issued the following statement: “I want to apologise for upsetting our players, the supporters, the entire Celtics organisation, and my family. I apologise for putting the crew in this challenging situation, and I accept their choice. I won’t add anything more out of respect for everyone involved. “
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Ime Udoka’s suspension is due to an allegedly consensual but inappropriate relationship with a team employee. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated says that Udoka considered leaving his job but decided not to.
Ime Ime Udoka, 45, played for San Antonio for most of his NBA career before keeping his association with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich by working as an assistant under him. Ime Udoka served as a member of the Spurs’ staff from 2012 to 2019, and it didn’t take him long to establish himself as one of the names that regularly featured on the short list of applicants when head coaching positions were available.
He played for Philadelphia in the 2019–20 season and Brooklyn in the 2020–21 season before being hired by the Celtics in June 2021 to replace Brad Stevens, who was promoted to a front-office position.
Ime Udoka said following the NBA Finals, “We’re just getting started, but the future is bright.”
The Celtics will host a media day on Monday
The Celtics will host a media day on Monday and start training camp on Tuesday. During this time, coaches, players, and executives will meet with journalists. And what was intended to be the beginning of a season of high hopes will be overshadowed by the absence of Ime Udoka, who finished fourth in the NBA’s coach of the year voting last season.
It also adds to a string of significant challenges the team is dealing with as the practise season gets underway.
After being hired by then-president Danny Ainge in 2019, Mazzulla served as an assistant coach for both Udoka and Stevens. He had an interview for the Utah Jazz’s open head coaching post earlier this summer, but Will Hardy, a former assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, ultimately won the job. According to the Boston Globe, Mazzulla was then given a promotion to a front-of-bench position by Boston.
Boston made some significant moves early in the summer, adding veteran forward Danilo Gallinari as a free agent and adding Malcolm Brogdon in a trade with Indiana to strengthen an already powerful backcourt.
However, Gallinari will miss the upcoming season after tearing the ACL in his left knee last month. Robert Williams, a key member of Boston’s defensive line who played in the playoffs last year despite knee problems, is still having knee problems and isn’t expected to be ready to start the season.
The Brooklyn forward, Kevin Durant, a recurring All-Star who demanded to be traded by the Nets but then withdrew that desire, was also heavily linked to the Celtics in trade rumours. Several Boston players are probably concerned about their futures as a result of the trade rumors…
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Only a two-year tenure at Division II’s Fairmont State in West Virginia, when he went 43-17 and reached the NCAA tournament in his second season, qualifies Mazzulla’s only prior experience in the role of head coach.
Mazzulla, a native of Rhode Island and New England who played college basketball for West Virginia, previously served as an assistant coach for the Celtics’ G League squad before taking over at Fairmont State. In June 2019, the Celtics once again signed Mazzulla to join Stevens’ staff.
Mazzulla’s last game at Fairmont State was against Mercyhurst. His first real game with the Celtics will be on October 18 in Boston against Philadelphia. More people will be watching and paying attention to this game.
This is the second significant disciplinary matter to arise in the NBA in as many weeks, following Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision last week to suspend Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, for one year and fine him $10 million following an investigation that revealed his pattern of disturbing workplace behaviour, including abusive and racist language. On Wednesday, Sarver declared his intention to sell his teams.
However, considering that all of the important players that helped them reach the NBA Finals, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, were back, the outlook for the 2022–23 season remained positive. Boston’s chances of winning the NBA championship for the first time in 15 years went up when they bought Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari.
Ime Udokais currently out for the duration of the season. A group regarded as one of the NBA’s top title contenders will be Mazzulla’s club. Due to his two seasons guiding Division II Fairmount State to a 43-17 record and an NCAA tournament bid in his second season, the 34-year-old already has head coaching experience.
Mazzulla also competed at the collegiate level at West Virginia from 2006 to 2011, when he scored 17 points in an upset victory over John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and the Kentucky Wildcats in the Elite Eight to help the Mountaineers advance to the 2010 Final Four. The guard concluded his career with 700 points and 340 assists.
The younger Udoka was eligible for Nigerian citizenship because his father was of Nigerian ancestry. Mfon, his older sister, was a WNBA player. His mother was an American from Illinois who passed away in late 2011.
Kez Sunday Udoka, their first child, was born in November 2011 to Udoka’s then-girlfriend Nia Long. In May 2015, the pair exchanged wedding vows. Long has indicated she has no intention of getting married.
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