NBA: Celtics suspend coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season
The Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season for what the team called “violations of team policies” on Thursday.
Udoka had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female employee within the organization, The Athletic and ESPN reported Thursday morning.
The relationship violated the organization’s code of conduct.
“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the team said in a news release. “The suspension takes effect immediately.”
Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla was made Boston’s interim coach for 2022-23, ESPN and The Athletic reported.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement released Thursday night. “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.”
Initial reports emerged Wednesday night that Udoka could face disciplinary action, and that conversations between the league and the Celtics were taking place to determine the right course of action. Udoka did not face scrutiny from the NBA, with Boston handling the matter internally.
In his first season as head coach, Udoka, 45, led the Celtics to the NBA Finals, where they ultimately lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. Boston finished the regular season with a 51-31 record before beating the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in the playoffs.
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.
–Field Level Media