New Celtics Coach Sounds Off on Ime Udoka Situation

Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics hosted their annual Media Day on Monday afternoon, and it gave players a chance to speak to the press as a team for the first time since the NBA Finals. And since then, a lot of things have gone down in the world of the Celtics.

Obviously, there were good things, such as signing Danilo Gallinari and trading for Malcolm Brogdon. But the bad has outweighed the good as of late. Gallinari tore his ACL, Robert Williams had knee surgery and is out for 8-12 weeks, and Ime Udoka was suspended for the entirety of the upcoming season.

The latter of those three incidents is the most pressing, and at Media Day, there were a lot of questions about it. One person who had an interesting perspective on the situation was Joe Mazzulla, who was named as the team’s interim head coach. He said that the only way to move past it is to give people the space and time they need to deal with it.

“The message is, first, to give people space and time,” Mazzulla said. “Not just for the players but for everybody. It’s an unfortunate situation for everybody involved, so you have to give people the time and space to feel and the time and space to heal. And so, that’s key. You can’t rush anything.”

Joe Mazzulla on Becoming Celtics Interim Head Coach | Celtics Media DayCANTON, MA — Newly appointed Interim Head Coach Joe Mazzulla was interviewed at Celtics Media Day. —————————————– – #celtics #NBA #CelticsCLNS The CLNS Media Network is the leading provider for video/audio content. CLNS is a fully credentialed member of the media with access to all NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB teams & venues. ——————————————————————————— CLNS' rebuilt their YouTube community…2022-09-26T17:08:02Z

Mazzulla joined the organization back in 2016 as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws, now known as the Maine Celtics, before leaving to coach at Fairmont State. He then re-joined the Celtics as an assistant under Brad Stevens in 2019 and was one of the only members of the coaching staff to be retained when Udoka took over last offseason.

The new head coach was also asked whether or not he has spoken to Udoka since the news broke.

Mazzulla Hints at Conversation With Udoka

When asked if he’s spoken with Udoka, Mazzulla did his best job at dodging the question. He noted that he’s spoken to everyone he believes he’s needed to, but also ended his response with a “yes.”

“I’ve talked to everyone in the organization and I thought it was my job to listen and give people space and time and ask people what they need. I’ve spoken to everyone I felt like needed to be spoken to and I’ve built relationships with, so yes,” Mazzulla revealed.

And while this is an amazing opportunity for Mazzulla (under unfortunate circumstances), he’s not focused on himself.

Mazzulla Focused on Helping Players

Getting the chance to coach a championship-caliber basketball team is an opportunity that any coach would savor. However, Mazzulla said that he hopes to focus on helping the players rather than himself.

“If I want the Celtics to be successful, if I want our players to be successful, I shouldn’t be focused on what I’m trying to do,” Mazzulla explained. “It’s only my job to focus on the execution standpoint. How do we execute our togetherness, how do we maximize our roster.”

Boston will be looking to improve upon their success last season, and despite the obstacles standing in their way, they could still manage to climb their way to the top behind Mazzulla.

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