The Brooklyn Nets made some major changes on November 1. First, they parted ways with head coach Steve Nash, then they got to work trying to hire suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, according to reports by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
But former Celtic Eddie House, who won a championship with the team in 2008, questioned whether it would be the right move for Udoka.
“I’m not sure if that’s such a great job,” House said during his November 1 appearance on NBC Sports Boston. “I think you’re walking into a toxic environment. Number one, it just seems like the inmates are running the asylum over there, and nothing good has come out of there.”
House added that Udoka would be coaching a team that has an uncertain future with its roster, despite having Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but that that might not be the worst thing.
“Is Ime walking into a job where he thinks he’s going to have Kyrie and Kevin Durant, then all of the sudden, one of them is gone [and] now it’s rebuilding?” said House, who played for the Nets during the 2006-07 season, when they were in New Jersey, and then for the Celtics from 2007 to 2010. “If that’s the case, then I think he does have a better chance of moving forward with new pieces that could buy into what he does, because the writing’s on the wall: Kyrie’s a coach killer.”
House Does Not Believe Udoka Can Salvage the Nets
The Nets (2-6) is ranked 28th in defense, allowing 118.3 points per 100 possessions. House questioned whether Udoka would be able to save their season as head coach.
“I don’t think so. I think they need more than that,” he said. “The roster’s not that good, number one. They’re top-heavy. The team is dependent on [Durant and Irving] going, and they don’t play any defense. You have to get stops in the NBA, no matter how talented you are on the offensive end. You gotta end up getting stops,” House said.
Under Udoka, the Celtics had the league’s top defense last season, allowing 106.2 points per 100 possessions, but that defense had Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart and NBA Second-Team All-Defense recipient Robert Williams III.
How Udoka’s Departure Impacts the Celtics
With Udoka reportedly on his way out the door in Boston, House explained how he thought it would impact the Celtics.
“It’s a great opportunity for closure,” he said. “You don’t like anything lingering or hovering around… not knowing if [interim head coach] Joe Mazzulla, no matter what kind of job he does, does Ime come back and get his job? A lot of unknown equations were going on.”
House also gave his thoughts on how Celtics players would respond when asked about Udoka’s departure.
“I look at it as an opportunity for them to say, ‘Hey, we didn’t know much about this. Anyway, we got blindsided. We answered the questions, and we wish him the best, but we’re moving forward with our coach and our organization, and this team moving forward. This team is different from last year. We have a different coach. We have some different players, different personnel, but it’s still the Boston Celtics. We’re looking to move forward, and we wish him nothing but the best,’ and I’m thinking that’s the best way you can handle it,” House said.