The Boston Celtics announced on Thursday that they are suspending coach Ime Udoka for the entire season, due to an intimate relationship with a member of the franchise staff. He will be replaced by one of his assistants, Joe Mazzulla.
A little over three months ago, he played in the NBA Finals at the head of the Boston Celtics and lost to the Golden State Warriors. But Ime Udoka will not be on the bench next season. The Boston Celtics coach has indeed been suspended for the entire 2022-23 season by the leaders of the legendary franchise and “a decision regarding his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date”. The reason ? He had an intimate and consensual relationship with a staff member. The case was revealed overnight from Wednesday to Thursday by the always well-informed journalist fromESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, and the Celtics were quick to confirm that their coach was suspended, but without specifying the reason. One of his assistants, Joe Mazzulla, will take over for the coming season, Udoka’s first assistant, Will Hardy, having been recruited by Utah this summer to become head coach. Mazzulla, 34, has only had one No. 1 coaching experience, and that was in the NCAA at Fairmont State between 2017 and 2019.
Udoka stopped on the way up
Ime Udoka (45), in a relationship since 2010 with actress Nia Long, is therefore stopped in full ascent. Launched into the deep end last season by the Celtics to replace Brad Stevens, after having been an assistant in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Brooklyn, he had led the franchise to a first NBA final since 2010. Under his watch, the C’s won 51 regular season games and finished second in the Eastern Conference, before eliminating Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami in the play-offs, then losing 4-2 against the Warriors. Udoka, a former player for the Lakers, New York, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento… and Vichy (24.2 pts on average in 9 games in 2004-05!), finished fourth in the vote for best coach. A ranking in which it will not appear in 2023.