Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing a lengthy suspension for violating the team’s code of conduct, multiple reports said Wednesday night.
Sources told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium that Udoka had a consensual, improper intimate relationship with a female staff member.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the suspension could be announced as early as Thursday. Udoka’s job isn’t believed to be in jeopardy, Wojnarowski added.
Udoka, 45, led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in 2022 in his first year as the team’s coach. He helped facilitate the growth of rising superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and cemented Boston’s status as one of the best defensive teams in recent NBA history. Udoka played a pivotal role in the C’s developing their own brand of physicality and toughness.
He also made a series of adjustments to the offense during the postseason. After ranking ninth in the regular season in offensive rating, the Celtics were the second-best offense in the league during the playoffs.
“He’s made a lot of great adjustments, more so on the offensive end than anything defensively, because he’s prepared us for these guys. He’s spent a lot of time with them,” forward Grant Williams said during Boston’s first-round series against the Nets. Udoka was an assistant in Brooklyn before joining the Celtics.
With a youthful roster — Tatum and Brown are 24 and 25, respectively — the Celtics appeared to be on the cusp of greatness.
Boston is scheduled to open training camp next week. Per MassLive’s Brian Robb, Udoka was expected to meet with the media on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s start of camp.
Wojnarowski told Scott Van Pelt on “SportsCenter” that an Udoka suspension is coming from the Celtics, not the NBA.
Here’s the full Woj segment on SportsCenter talking about the Ime Udoka/Celtics situation… He said it’s not a league issue and we could possibly learn about the length of the suspension in the next 24-48 hours. pic.twitter.com/Z09oAMOnrF
— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) September 22, 2022
Sources told Wojnarowski that assistant Joe Mazzulla would be seen as a serious candidate to take over as interim head coach.