The Boston Celtics announced Thursday night that they have suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the upcoming 2022-23 season, citing violations of team policies in its announcement. Sources told Andrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that the suspension is related to Udoka’s role in an intimate relationship with a female member of the franchise’s staff, which is considered a violation of the Celtics’ guidelines. The suspension is effective immediately, with a decision about Udoka’s future with the organization to be determined at a later date. Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over as interim head coach
Udoka said in a statement: “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
The 45-year-old Udoka previously served as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs (2012-19), Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) and Nets (2020-21) following a seven-year playing career in the NBA. Udoka was hired to be the Celtics’ head coach in June 2021, replacing Brad Stevens after he went on to become Boston’s president of basketball operations. In his first season in Boston, Udoka led the team to 51 wins – going 26-6 in the final 32 games – and their first NBA Finals appearance since the 2010 season. The Celtics lost the title series to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
Udoka is engaged to actress Nia Long, and the couple share one child together.
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