Celtics coach Ime Udoka faces suspension for violating team policy, a league source confirmed on Wednesday night. The source said discipline will likely be decided shortly, but declined to elaborate on Udoka’s situation.
Athletic reported early Thursday morning that Udoka, 45, had had an inappropriate intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of team staff. Udoka has been engaged to actress Nia Long since 2015, and the couple have an 11-year-old son.
According to ESPN, the Celtics are considering a suspension that could last up to a year.
After a rocky start in which the Celtics were in danger of missing the playoffs last season, Udoka led the team to the NBA Finals in his first season as NBA head coach and finished fourth. in the Coach of the Year vote. He has earned the trust and respect of his players through his demanding and disciplined style based on responsibility.
It’s unclear which Celtics assistant would replace Udoka if suspended. Will Hardy, Boston’s main assistant last season, would have been the obvious choice, but in June he was named head coach of the Jazz. Ben Sullivan guided the summer league team from Las Vegas to Boston in July and served as an assistant for the Bucks when they won the NBA title in 2021. Joe Mazzulla, considered a rising coaching star, was interviewed for the Utah Open before eventually being promoted to a bench position. in the Udoka team this summer.
After being less than two wins away from an NBA title last June, the Celtics added veterans Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to their young and talented roster which revolves around All-NBA First Team pick Jayson Tatum. . Boston then became the betting favorite to win the championship.
But the past few weeks have been chaotic.
Gallinari tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifier and is set to miss the entire season. Then on Tuesday, the Celtics announced that center Robert Williams, who missed a month last spring after tearing his meniscus, will undergo a second surgery on his left knee and will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Now, Udoka’s situation has made things even more unstable. The Celtics are scheduled to hold a media day on Monday before opening training camp at the Auerbach Center on Tuesday.
Adam Himmelsbach can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.