Boston Celtics suspend head coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season

By | September 23, 2022

Citing violations of crew insurance policies, the Celtics are suspending head coach Ime Udoka for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have suspended Ime Udoka for a full yr, banning the coach who led them to the NBA Finals final spring for your complete 2022-23 season over what two folks with data of the matter say was a relationship inappropriately with a member of the group.

Folks have been speaking to The Related Press on situation of anonymity because the crew has not disclosed this element publicly. In a press release late Thursday after a full day of wrangling over the phrases of the sanction, the Celtics stated Udoka violated crew insurance policies and left open the chance {that a} longer separation might comply with.

“A choice relating to his future with the Celtics past this season can be made at a later date,” the crew stated.

Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over as interim coach, one of many individuals who spoke to the AP stated. The defending Japanese Convention champions are scheduled to carry a media day on Monday and open coaching camp on Tuesday in preparation for the Oct. 18 season opener.

In a press release launched by ESPN, Udoka apologized “to our gamers, our followers, your complete Celtics group and my household for letting them down.”

“I am sorry for placing the crew on this troublesome scenario and I settle for the crew’s determination,” he stated. “Out of respect for everybody concerned, I’ll don’t have any additional remark.”

A longtime assistant in his first NBA head teaching job, Udoka led Boston to a 51-31 document final season — going 26-6 within the final 32 video games. The Celtics beat Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami on their method to the NBA Finals, the place they misplaced to the Golden State Warriors in six video games.

The developments shocked the NBA and rattled a crew that had been among the many favorites to problem for a championship this season. It might be an unprecedented 18th title for the franchise.

It is unclear whether or not Udoka and the Celtics can be as eager to reunite.

Udoka, 45, spent most of his NBA enjoying profession in San Antonio, then joined Spurs teaching employees Gregg Popovich as an assistant. Udoka was on the Spurs employees from 2012 to 2019, profitable all of it in 2014, and he quickly discovered himself on shortlists for open head teaching positions.

He spent the 2019-20 season in Philadelphia and the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn earlier than the Celtics employed him in June 2021 because the successor to Brad Stevens – who moved to the entrance workplace. Within the first yr, Udoka completed fourth in Coach of the Yr voting and the Celtics got here inside two championship wins.

“The long run is shiny and we’re simply getting began,” Udoka stated after the NBA Finals.

Perhaps not.

The bombshell on the eve of coaching camp is the newest twist earlier than what was imagined to be a promising season for the NBA’s most embellished franchise.

The Celtics bolstered their roster of finalists by buying guard Malcolm Brogdon in a commerce from Indiana, then added veteran marksman ahead Danilo Gallinari as a free agent. However final month, Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee and can be out of motion for the approaching season.

Heart Robert Williams, a key a part of Boston’s protection system who suffered accidents in final season’s playoffs, continues to be battling knee ache and is anticipated to overlook the beginning of the season.

The Celtics have additionally been talked about in hypothesis over a brand new dwelling for Brooklyn ahead Kevin Durant, a perennial All-Star who requested for — after which backed off on — a commerce request. Though the talks got here to nothing, they raised questions on Boston’s dedication to younger star Jaylen Brown.

Mazzulla was interviewed for the Utah Jazz teaching job this summer season, a job that finally went to Will Hardy, one other Udoka assistant in Boston final season.

Mazzulla’s solely earlier expertise as a head coach is a two-year stint at Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia, the place he went 43-17 and made the NCAA Event in his second season. A New England native from Rhode Island, Mazzulla performed in West Virginia, served as an assistant for the Celtics’ G League crew earlier than taking on at Fairmont State, then was rehired by the Celtics in June 2019 to grow to be a part of the Stevens employees.

Mazzulla’s final recreation at Fairmont State was towards Mercyhurst. His first actual recreation with the Celtics will get a bit extra consideration: Boston is ready to host longtime rival Philadelphia within the opener, once they announce a year-long tribute to Corridor of Famer Invoice Russell.