The Boston Celtics have been re-engulfed in drama, as Ime Udoka is reportedly set to join the Brooklyn Nets as their new head coach. He was suspended by the Celtics for the entirety of this season for having a relationship with a fellow staff member that the team deemed to be a violation of the organization’s code of conduct.
After the news was reported, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown spoke to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Brown said that it “sucks” that Udoka wasn’t wable to return to the Celtics.
“Forward Jaylen Brown said it would have been “awesome” if Udoka had been able to return to the Celtics next season, and that it “sucks” that he will not be back. But most of all, he’s pleased that Udoka will get another chance,” Himmelsbach wrote.
Udoka was first hired by the Celtics last offseason to replace Brad Stevens as head coach. In his first and only season with the team, he led them to the NBA Finals and finished fourth in Coach of the Year voting.
In addition, Brown noted that he’s happy to see Udoka get another chance in the league.
“I’m just happy to see a Black head coach end up back on his feet,” Brown said, “because I’ve seen situations where something like this might not have been the case.”
Smart ‘Wishes’ Udoka Was Back
Boston’s Finals run under Udoka was their first since the 2010 season and the first trip to the Finals for every player on the roster. Now, they’ll have to figure things out without him in an attempt to get back to that point.
Smart shared Brown’s sentiments, stating that he “wishes” Udoka was back with the Celtics.
“Obviously, we wish he was here,” Smart said. “We have no control over that. It definitely sucks. I guess it was deemed that whatever happened was enough for him not to be the coach here, but I guess not enough for him [not] to be a coach anywhere else, obviously.”
Udoka’s schemes helped the Celtics become the league’s best defense, and Smart took home the Defensive Player of the Year award.
He said that it’s tough to see Udoka move on to coach one of the team’s rivals, but he also loves Joe Mazzulla as the new head coach.
“His name got slandered and slaughtered and it was, ‘He’ll probably never coach again,’ ” Smart said. “And a couple of months later, now he’s possibly going to be the coach of one of our biggest rivals? It’s tough. It makes no sense. But we can’t control that. We have to control what we can, and I love the team here. I love the coaching staff. I love Joe.”
Udoka Made ‘Crude’ Remarks
When Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the news, he added a new tidbit of information to the story. He revealed that Udoka had made “crude” remarks to a female subordinate staff member.
“The independent law firm probe into Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka found that he used crude language in his dialogue with a female subordinate prior to the start of an improper workplace relationship with the woman, an element that significantly factored into the severity of his one-year suspension, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Now, Udoka will be heading to Brooklyn while the Celtics are left wondering what exactly happened behind the scenes during his tenure in Boston.