The Boston Celtics’ offseason has officially descended into chaos. After some solid moves at the beginning of the summer, things have gone downhill. Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL while playing for the Italian national team at EuroBasket, and it was recently announced that Robert Williams will require knee surgery.
However, the biggest bombshell came when Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that head coach Ime Udoka would likely be suspended. Shams Charania of The Athletic followed that up by revealing that he had a consensual relationship with a female member of Boston’s staff.
It took a while for anyone on the Celtics’ side of things to release a statement, but late at night on Thursday, September 22, both Boston and Udoka himself commented on the matter. In his first statement since the incident came to light, Udoka apologized to the organization and its fans, and said that he had no further comments 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,” read Udoka’s statement.
As for the Celtics’ first statement, they revealed that Udoka would be suspended for the entirety of the 2022-23 NBA season.
Udoka Suspended for Entire Season
In an official statement made by the team, the Celtics revealed that Udoka would be suspended for the upcoming season. On top of that, they noted that they would make a decision on Udoka’s future with the team at a later date.
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately,” the statement said.
Udoka joined the team last summer when Danny Ainge retired (for a brief stint), and Brad Stevens made the move to the front office. He led the Celtics on a run to the NBA Finals and finished fourth in NBA Coach of the Year voting.
But now, with Udoka set to miss the entire season, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is set to take over.
Mazzulla Will Serve as Interim Head Coach
Now that Udoka is set to sit out for the entirety of the upcoming season, Boston has named his top assistant as the interim head coach.
“The Celtics have made assistant coach Joe Mazzulla the interim head coach, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski reported.
Mazzulla joined the team in 2019 and has been an assistant ever since. He stayed on Boston’s staff even when Udoka took over for Stevens. Will Hardy was Udoka’s top assistant last year, but he accepted a head coaching job with the Utah Jazz earlier this summer. In turn, Mazzulla was named the new lead assistant. Now, he’ll have a chance to play an even bigger role.
This is the last way Boston wanted to start their season, but now, they have no choice left but to play the hand they’ve been dealt.