The Celtics will have to complete the 2022-23 campaign without their head coach.
On Wednesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Ime Udoka was facing a “significant suspension” after he violated organizational guidelines. The Celtics confirmed the news on Thursday, announcing that the 45-year-old has been suspended for the 2022-23 season.
Here is everything we currently know about Udoka’s situation, including how the Celtics and Udoka have addressed the suspension.
What did Ime Udoka do?
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported early Thursday that Udoka had an “improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff.”
In their statement, the Celtics didn’t offer additional details, saying only that Udoka was being suspended for “violations of team policies.”
How long will Ime Udoka be suspended?
The Celtics have suspended Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season.
“A decision about [Udoka’s] future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the team said in its statement. “The suspension takes effect immediately.”
During an appearance on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Wojnarowski made it clear that this is a “Celtics matter, not a league issue,” so the NBA will not be involved in any disciplinary action.
Will the Celtics fire Ime Udoka?
Udoka’s job isn’t “believed to be in jeopardy,” per Wojnarowski.
What did Ime Udoka say about his suspension?
Udoka issued this statement after the Celtics announced his suspension (via ESPN’s Malika Andrews):
I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down. 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.
Will Brad Stevens replace Ime Udoka as the Celtics’ head coach?
The Celtics’ president of basketball operations spent eight seasons as Boston’s head coach (from 2013-21) before transitioning to a front-office role. Stevens, who hired Udoka prior to the start of last season, has given no indication that he is interested in returning to the bench.
Who will be the Celtics’ interim head coach?
Wojnarowski reported that Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will replace Udoka.
The 34-year-old, who played at West Virginia from 2006-11 and was a member of the 2009-10 Mountaineers team that reached the Final Four, joined Boston’s coaching staff in 2019. He previously served as an assistant and head coach at Fairmont State, and he was an assistant coach for the Maine Celtics of the G League.
Will Hardy, the top assistant on Udoka’s staff during the 2021-22 season, would have been the obvious choice for interim head coach, but the Jazz hired him to replace Quin Snyder in June. Utah reportedly interviewed Mazzulla before hiring Hardy.
Ime Udoka’s coaching resume
- Assistant coach with Spurs (2012-19)
- Assistant coach with 76ers (2019-2020)
- Assistant coach with Nets (2020-21)
- Head coach with Celtics (2021-22)
- 2013-14 NBA champion with Spurs
- 2021-22 Eastern Conference champion with Celtics
- 51-31 regular-season record as head coach
Celtics training camp, Media Day, preseason schedule
Boston is set to hold its Media Day on Monday, Sept. 26. The Celtics will then kick off training camp on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Here is their full preseason schedule:
|Oct. 2||vs. Hornets||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 5||vs. Raptors||7:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 7||vs. Hornets*||7:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 14||vs. Raptors*||7 p.m.|
* Game played at a neutral site.