Ime Udoka spent one season as an assitant with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21 before accepting a head coaching position with the decorated Boston Celtics franchise the following season. In his rookie season as head coach, Udoka not only reached his expectations but far exceeded them. After losing to the Nets in five games in the first round in 2021, Udoka and the Celtics got revenge last season, sweeping the Nets in the first round en route to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010.
But just as quickly as Udoka was able to reach the mountaintop, is just as quickly as he may fall. NBA insider Shams Charania reports that Udoka had an ‘improper’ relationship with a female member of the Celtics staff.
“Celtics coach Ime Udoka had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff, sources tell [The Athletic],” Shams tweeted on September 22. “It’s been deemed a violation of the franchise’s code of conduct.”
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Fans Call For Firing of Celtics Ime Udoka
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski says that due to Udoka’s conduct being a direct violation of team rules, the Celtics are expected to suspend Udoka for a significant amount of time.
“Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing disciplinary action expected to include a significant suspension for his role in a consensual, intimate relationship with a woman on the franchise’s staff, sources told ESPN on Wednesday night,” Wojnarowski writes per ESPN.
However, for some fans, a lengthy suspension isn’t harsh enough of a penalty for Udoka’s actions. Some are calling for the immediate termination of the Celtics’ head coach, because of his conduct.
Udoka, Nia Long ‘Believed’ To Be Separated
Udoka had been in a relationship with famed actress Nia Long since 2010, and the two became engaged to be married in 2015. But amid this recent discovery of Udoka’s relationship with the Celtics staffer, NBA insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports notes Long and the Celtics coach were separated before this new revelation.
“Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka and his partner are believed to have been separated prior to current issue sources tell [Bally Sports],” Robinson tweeted on September 22.
“Celtics players have been aware of the current issue with their coach for a couple of days & were briefed earlier this week.”
Celtics Could Sideline Udoka for Entire Season
After being just two wins away from raising another championship banner in Boston, the Celtics were expected to be among the top contenders for the NBA title in 2023. But that prediction was contingent on Udoka being their coach, as he played a major role in getting them to the Finals last year.
With the length of his suspension still undecided, the Celtics’ season could be over before it even starts. Wojnarowski notes that there is a chance Udoka could be suspended for the entirety of the season.
“The relationship was considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines, and a decision on the length of that suspension is expected to come as soon as Thursday, sources said,” Wojnarowski added.
“While no final decision has been made, internal discussions have included scenarios that would keep Udoka out for the entirety of the 2022-23 season, sources said.”
All eyes will be on the Celtics as fans await the verdict on Udoka’s suspension. It could be a decision that shakes up the entire Eastern Conference landscape.