The Boston Celtics are in the eye of a storm right now, as the team continues to deal with their current head coaching situation.
Boston’s front office has taken the decision to suspend Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 NBA season, and will be making a decision on his long-term future with the franchise over the coming months after the head coach violated ‘multiple organizational policies.’
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg, the Celtics could yet be faced with an emotional fallout within their locker room after the situation regarding Ime Udoka became public on September 22.
“You could tell there has been an emotional toll that has been taken on by the front office, and you’ve gotta figure this extends throughout the organization. This has rattled them, and it’s taken them by surprise. You can tell an off-season with so much optimism has now been diminished, and now there’s an uncertainty moving forward and how is this going to work? And I think there’s just a lot of questions and uncertainty right now. I didn’t expect that, Brad is the most unflappable of the people around the Celtics, and when his voice quivered as he gave his opening statement …It’s remarkable to me just how much (this situation) has stung them,” Forsberg said on September 23.
Boston’s players will face the media for the first time since the Udoka situation went public on Monday, September 25, on what has been scheduled as the team’s media day.
Brad Stevens Rules Out Coaching Return
When news of Udoka’s suspension originally broke, fans across the world were anticipating Brad Stevens’ potential return to the sidelines, which considering his previous success as the team’s head coach, made perfect sense.
However, it would seem that Stevens has ruled out his return to coaching, as he believes Joe Mazzulla is the perfect person to lead the Celtics through this difficult period and into the new season.
“Joe’s the best choice to do that (take the role as head coach) by a long shot. As you go through this whole process, it hits you, but I think we have the best people in place to do that, and Joe is the best person to do that in our organization…Absolutely not (would he consider taking over as head coach)…There are a lot of factors at play as to why I wouldn’t necessarily want to do that, but I’ve told Joe that I’m going to be there for him without stepping on his toes,” Stevens explained.
Stevens has been exceptional in his new role as President of Basketball Operation and has spent the past 12 months molding the Celtics roster into what he considers to be a championship-caliber team. As such, it makes sense that he would prefer to continue in his new role and allow an aspiring young coach the opportunity to take their next step into the head coaching ranks.
Danilo Gallinari Offers Encouraging Update
Outside of Ime Udoka’s recent suspension, the Celtics have also been dealing with some pre-season injury issues, which began with recently-acquired forward, Danilo Gallinari suffering an ACL injury while playing in the FIBA Eurobasket competition for Italy.
On Friday, September 23, Gallinari released a personal statement to Celtics fans, explaining that he had undergone successful surgery on his injury and that he hopes to return to the court ‘soon’.
“Yesterday I had successful ACL surgery. Now the focus is on my rehab and returning to the game I love. I want to thank the Celtics organization and medical staff at the New England Baptist Hospital. I also want to thank Dr. Antonio Orgiani and Dr. Rodolfo Rocchi for the support they gave me in Italy before my surgery. And of course, thank you to all my fans for their continued support and well wishes…See you soon on the court,” Gallinari wrote.
Gallinari participated in 66 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 38.1% from deep – and it was that outside scoring that made him such a desirable free-agent pick-up for Boston this summer. Hopefully, Gallinari can make a full recovery from his most recent injury and we will see him back on the court before the season ends.