Celtics droop head coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season

Ime Udoka received’t be on the sidelines for the Boston Celtics’ title chase, and his future with the group is in query.

The Celtics introduced Thursday that Udoka, who led the franchise to the NBA Finals in his first season as head coach, is suspended for your entire 2022-23 season for “violations of team policies.” Udoka was concerned in an improper intimate relationship with a feminine staffer, a number of individuals with data of the state of affairs confirmed, and the Celtics stated a choice about his future with the group will likely be “made at a later date.”

The Celtics didn’t instantly title Udoka’s interim alternative. Assistant Joe Mazzulla is anticipated to function Udoka’s alternative throughout his suspension, which started Thursday, in response to an individual with data of the state of affairs.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka stated in an announcement. “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.”

ESPN and the Athletic first reported particulars surrounding Udoka’s punishment, which comes lower than per week earlier than the Celtics open coaching camp and fewer than a month earlier than their common season opener towards the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18.

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Udoka, 45, emerged as a rising star within the teaching ranks final season, guiding Boston to 51 wins and its first Jap Convention championship since 2010. Credited for holding Boston’s stars accountable and motivating a roster that had underperformed earlier than his arrival, Udoka oversaw the NBA’s top-ranked protection and completed fourth in voting for coach of the yr honors. Throughout a formidable playoff run, the Celtics swept Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets, dethroned Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks and outlasted Jimmy Butler’s Miami Warmth earlier than falling to the Golden State Warriors in six video games.

Boston solidified its place as a number one title favourite by buying guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers in a July commerce. The Celtics return Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Sensible and Al Horford, amongst different key items from final yr’s workforce. Nevertheless, heart Robert Williams III will likely be sidelined for not less than a month following a latest knee surgical procedure, and ahead Danilo Gallinari, an offseason addition, might miss your entire season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in August.

A former NBA participant, Udoka spent seven seasons with 5 completely different NBA groups earlier than becoming a member of the San Antonio Spurs’ teaching workers in 2012. Udoka, who spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers and the 2020-21 season in the identical position with the Nets, additionally served as a USA Basketball assistant underneath Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Celtics employed Udoka as a part of a 2021 overhaul that noticed longtime president Danny Ainge depart and former coach Brad Stevens promoted to the entrance workplace. Boston misplaced former assistant coach Will Hardy in June when Ainge, now CEO of the Utah Jazz, employed him to his first head teaching place.

Mazzulla, 34, joined the Celtics in 2019 as an assistant coach underneath Stevens following a earlier stint as an assistant with Boston’s G League affiliate, the Maine Crimson Claws. This summer season, the Rhode Island native interviewed for the Jazz’s head teaching place earlier than it went to Hardy.

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