Former Celtics Center Sounds Off on Ime Udoka

Enes Freedom, Boston Celtics

Getty Enes Freedom, Boston Celtics

Former Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom has wasted no time in sharing his opinion on the current Ime Udoka situation and has also hinted at a strained relationship with the beleaguered head coach in a recent tweet.

“No need for revenge. Just sit back and wait. Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves and if you’re lucky, God will let you watch…Karma!,” Freedom Tweeted on September 22, in response to an article explaining the current situation with Udoka. 

Freedom spent half of last season playing under Udoka and struggled for playing time. In the veteran big’s 35 games for the Celtics, Freedom averaged 3.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks per game while shooting 53.3% from two-point range.

The Celtics traded Freedom to the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline as part of the deal that saw Daniel Theis return to Boston, but Freedom was subsequently waived by the Rockets and has been out of the league ever since.

Udoka Facing Season-Long Suspension

On September 22, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Celtics are planning to suspend Udoka for the entirety of the 2022-23 NBA season, following reports that he had broken organizational codes of conduct.

“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,” Wojnarowski reported.

Currently, there isn’t much detail surrounding what organizational rules Udoka has broken. The little we do know so far has come from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who reported on September 21 that Udoka violated the Celtics franchise’s code of conduct with his actions.

“Celtics coach Ime Udoka had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. It’s been deemed a violation of franchise’s code of conduct,” Charania tweeted.

Of course, with Udoka now being ruled out for the coming season, Boston has a serious decision to make on who will be their interim head coach.

Joe Mazzulla Could Step Into Interim Role

With Udoka likely away from the team for the upcoming season, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla could find himself thrust into the hot seat. Since joining the Celtics in 2019, the assistant coach has developed a solid reputation around the organization and even led the 2021 Celtics Summer League team to the Summer League finals. 

Unfortunately, Mazzulla has no experience as an NBA head coach, and there would likely be teething issues to start the new season – similar to what Boston went through last year after Udoka was hired.

Of course, a contending team may be better off in the hands of a seasoned coach, who knows the league and is quick to figure out their rotations – but it’s highly unlikely a coach like that would agree to step in on a one-year basis. As such, Mazzulla could be Boston’s guy, and he would likely take the reins once training camp gets underway in October.

No matter what happens, Brad Stevens will have his hands full in the coming days – because, on top of the current coaching situation, he still needs to figure out who is going to earn a final roster spot. It’s an interesting time to be a Boston Celtics fan.

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