How the mighty have fallen. After leading the Boston Celtics to an NBA Finals appearance in his first season as Head Coach, Ime Udoka will miss the entire 2022-23 season with a suspension. Not a particularly fun time to be a Celtics fan.
First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it was made public that the Boston coach was having an “intimate” and “consensual” relationship with a team staff member. It didn’t take long for the news to quickly spread about the conflict occurring with Ime and the Celtics organization.
The ensuing conflict ultimately lead to an unprecedented year long suspension for Udoka. This was due to violating the Celtics’ organizational guidelines. Boston acted swiftly and diligently in punishing their coach.
Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is likely facing a suspension for the entire 2022-2023 season for his role in a consensual relationship with a female staff member, sources tell ESPN. A formal announcement is expected as soon as today.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 22, 2022
Not only will Udoka be suspended for the 2022-23 season, but his future with the team is also in doubt. The team has not fired Udoka yet, but that could change in the near future. Especially as more and more details from this scandal begin to surface.
September 23, 2022
Recapping The Celtics Press Conference
Owner Wyc Grousbeck and Head of Basketball operations Brad Stevens held a press conference this past week to comment on the scandal. The presser was also used as a way to explain the steps moving forward for the organization.
At the presser, Wyc was asked about the severity of the punishment. Some wondered of the year long suspension was worrented. Wyc rightfully stood by the decision, stating:
“I personally feel this is well warranted and appropriate, backed by substantial research, evidence and facts.”
Brad Stevens was also asked about the players and the discussions that the front office has had with them. Stevens responded by talking about the relationship between Ime and the players saying, “There’s a real relationship there, They had an incredible season last year. There’s a care, both ways and human beings are human beings. To think guys on the team can walk out there and everything be fine is not the way it is.”
Wyc and Brad also made it official that lead assistant Joe Mazzulla will take over head coaching duties for the 2022-23 season. It was mostly rumored that he would step in as interim coach, but they confirmed it during the presser. This also put to bed any rumors of Brad Stevens stepping in to coach.
Mazzulla has been with the Celtics since 2019, where he was apart of Brad Stevens’ staff. He has gotten continuous praise from the players, including Jayson Tatum since the announcement.
Moving onto the season
After an offseason that started with the Celtics bolstering up their roster and becoming the betting favorites to win the NBA championship, the last couple of weeks have been nothing but bad news, adding more obstacles to overcome.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Boston Celtics will look to distance themselves from this incident with success on the court.
With an obvious distraction and an interim head coach stepping in, there’s reason to suspect the season can get off to a rocky start. The hope is that the culture and chemistry instilled last year will carry over into this season, as well as future seasons.