With training camp only days away, the Boston Celtics announced via their Twitter page that Head Coach Ime Udoka will be suspended for the entirety of the 2022-23 season. Moreso that a decision about his future with the team will be determined at a later date.
Details continue to be revealed bit by bit. On September 23, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed new developments in the ongoing investigation.
In Charania’s report, he revealed that the team originally believed the relationship Udoka had formed with the female staffer had been consensual, but accusations from her against Udoka sparked an internal investigation.
“Some members of the Celtics organization first became aware of the relationship in July, sources said. At that time, team leadership was led to believe by both parties that the relationship was consensual. But sources said that the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her — leading the team to launch a set of internal interviews.”
When Charania first reported on the investigation, he said that Udoka’s violation stemmed from an “improper intimate” and “consensual relationship” with the staffer.
Adrian Wojnarowski echoed that the relationship was consensual when he reported that Udoka was likely going to be suspended for the season on September 22.
Charania’s update reveals that the relationship may not have been consensual after all, which may or may not have played a role in why Udoka has been suspended for the season.
Udoka’s Official Statement
After Udoka’s suspension had become official, Udoka made a public statement through Malika Andrews’ Twitter account, voicing his thoughts on the matter.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment,” Udoka said.
Note that Udoka’s statement does not deny any of the reports regarding his actions within the organization, and there could be more details that come out in the coming days.
On September 21, Wojnarowski reported that Udoka’s job as head coach would not be in jeopardy, but that may not be the case after the Celtics said they would make a decision on his future at a later date.
In the meantime, the Celtics will have assistant coach Joe Mazzulla as interim head coach while Udoka serves his suspension.
Could Ime Resign?
After Wojnarowski reported that Udoka was likely to be suspended for the season – this was before it was official – Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported that Udoka had considered resigning as head coach.
NBA Insider Chris Haynes later reported that Udoka was, in fact, not resigning from his role as head coach of the team before his suspension became official.
With Udoka’s suspension official and Shams Charania’s report detailing accusations of unwanted comments since Haynes’ report came out, that could very well influence whether Udoka would be willing to stay. If he wants to stick around, and the Celtics uphold the suspension without firing him, it’s hard to see how this investigation won’t hang over their heads as long as he’s the head coach.