After losing in the NBA Finals, the offseason seemed to be going swimmingly for the Boston Celtics.
But now, head coach Ime Udoka is facing a likely suspension after reports that he had an “improper” relationship with a female member of Boston’s staff.
“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,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted on September 21.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to report the news, noting that the Celtics are having ongoing discussions about a suspension.
Celtics Discussing Udoka Suspension
Wojnarowski’s bombshell surprised many on the NBA landscape.
“ESPN Sources: Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing possible disciplinary action – including a significant suspension – for an unspecified violation of organizational guidelines. Discussions are ongoing within the Celtics on a final determination,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
In his report for ESPN, Wojnarowski noted that assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will likely be in line for the interim head coaching role.
“Udoka’s top assistant coach, Will Hardy, left to become coach of the Utah Jazz, and another Jazz finalist, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla, would likely be in serious consideration for an interim role, sources told ESPN,” wrote Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski wrote that Udoka’s job is not believed to be in jeopardy.
“Ime Udoka’s job isn’t believed to be in jeopardy, but a suspension is looming and a final determination on that length could come as soon as Thursday, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Udoka Could Miss the Entire Season
In addition to his first report, Wojnarowski mentioned that Boston has discussed the possibility of Udoka being suspended for all of the 2022-23 season.
“No final decision has been made on the length of a suspension, but internal discussions have included scenarios that would keep Udoka out for the entirety of the 2022-2023 season, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Chaotic Offseason for Celtics
After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, general manager Brad Stevens sprung into action, signing Danilo Gallinari to a two-year contract and making a crucial trade for combo guard Malcolm Brogdon.
However, in the span of a few short weeks, chaos took over. There were the Kevin Durant trade rumors, then Gallinari tore his ACL while playing for the Italian national team at EuroBasket, and then it was revealed that Robert Williams would need knee surgery.
Still, despite the chaos, the Celtics’ offseason was graded an “A” by ESPN.
“Armed only with their taxpayer midlevel exception and a 2023 first-round pick we can safely expect to fall late in the first round, the Celtics managed to add a pair of veteran contributors to last year’s East champions. Malcolm Brogdon is the big addition, giving Boston a sure-handed playmaker without sacrificing the elements (shooting and size at every position) that made the Celtics so good in the playoffs,” Kevin Pelton wrote on August 4.
“Additionally, Danilo Gallinari (signed with the midlevel) gives Boston another shooter and scorer in the frontcourt. Gallinari’s presence will make it easier to lighten the load on Al Horford during the regular season, keeping Horford fresh for the playoffs,” Pelton wrote. “Durant trade rumors won’t make it any easier for second-year coach Ime Udoka to keep everybody happy, but he can’t complain about the roster he’s been given.”