Celtics suspend coach Ime Udoka for entire 2022-23 NBA season

Ime Udoka coached the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season on the job. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics have suspended second-year head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 NBA season for violations of the crew’s code of conduct, the group introduced on Thursday night time.

Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will function the crew’s interim head coach in Udoka’s absence, in keeping with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. A choice about Udoka’s long-term future with the crew past the 2022-23 season, the Celtics stated, “will probably be made at a later date.” Udoka issued an apology in a imprecise assertion.

“I wish to apologize to our gamers, followers, the entire Celtics group, and my household for letting them down,” Udoka stated, by way of ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “I’m sorry for placing the crew on this troublesome state of affairs, and I settle for the crew’s resolution. Out of respect for everybody concerned, I’ll don’t have any additional remark.”

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in a single day on Thursday, citing nameless sources, that Udoka allegedly “had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a feminine member of the crew employees.”

Udoka led the Celtics to their first NBA Finals look since 2010 in his debut season as a head coach. Boston is the favourite to win the 2023 championship, in keeping with BetMGM. Udoka performed components of seven NBA seasons for 5 totally different groups earlier than becoming a member of the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant in 2012. The 45-year-old additionally hung out as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets earlier than the Celtics gave him an overdue alternative to steer a crew. He completed fourth in Coach of the Year voting final season.

Mazzulla was an assistant for Boston’s G League affiliate in Maine throughout the 2016-17 season. He coached West Virginia’s Fairmont State University on the Division II faculty degree for two seasons earlier than becoming a member of then-Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ employees as an assistant in 2019. Stevens moved into Boston’s entrance workplace in 2021, assuming the position vacated by former president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and in addition hiring Udoka.

The 34-year-old Mazzulla coached the Celtics’ 2021 Las Vegas Summer League roster to the championship sport. He interviewed for the pinnacle teaching place that Udoka crammed final 12 months. Over the summer time, Mazzulla additionally interviewed Ainge, now the chief Utah Jazz govt, for the opening left by head coach Quin Snyder’s departure. The Jazz in the end employed Will Hardy, the lead assistant on Udoka’s employees final season.

“I talked to all people within the group once I bought employed, gamers included, and he bought glowing evaluations,” Udoka stated of Mazzulla in June, when information of his Jazz interview broke. “I did not know a lot about him going into it, however I take the gamers’ opinions at a excessive worth, and he was a man that was a consensus sure. … It’s simple to see why, as soon as I bought to know him and be round him. What I’ve inspired our guys to do is be extra vocal, be extra on the market, and get their very own voice, in the identical means I used to be introduced up in San Antonio.”

A monumental activity awaits Mazzulla. Udoka drew rave evaluations for inspiring Boston’s transformation from a sub-.500 crew at midseason right into a juggernaut. Over the ultimate three months of final season, the Celtics owned the league’s greatest file (28-8), greatest offensive score (120 factors per 100 possessions) and greatest defensive score (105.1 factors allowed per 100 possessions). They captured the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, sweeping the Brooklyn Nets within the first spherical of the playoffs and defeating the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in consecutive seven-game collection, earlier than dropping to the Golden State Warriors within the Finals, 4-2.

Following the commerce acquisition of former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon in July, which bolstered Boston’s probabilities of returning to the Finals, the Celtics have suffered a string of unlucky information occasions. Veteran ahead Danilo Gallinari, who signed a free-agent contract with the Celtics this summer time, tore his left ACL whereas taking part in for Italy in a FIBA ​​World Cup qualifier in late August. Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that All-Defensive heart Robert Williams III will bear arthroscopic surgical procedure this week on his left knee.

The Celtics are scheduled to host their media day festivities on Monday at 12 pm ET.

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Ben Rohrbach is a employees author for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or comply with him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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