Nets Linked to Potential Blockbuster Trade for Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka

Ime Udoka, Celtics

Getty Ime Udoka, Celtics

In the eyes of many, this could be considered a do-or-die season for the Brooklyn Nets. Since bringing their All-Star duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Brooklyn in 2019, the Nets have yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs. And after Kevin Durant’s bombshell trade request last summer, in addition to Kyrie Irving’s expiring deal, there is a widespread belief that if the Nets don’t deliver this season, big changes could be coming.

One of those changes could be Nets head coach Steve Nash. After being swept out of the first-round by the Boston Celtics, Nash will be under a microscope this season. If the Nets decide to move on from the Hall of Famer, former Nets assistant and Celtics head coach Ime Udoka could be his replacement. Jaren Weiss of “The Athletic” says Brooklyn is the ‘most obvious destination’ for Udoka.

“Brooklyn is the most obvious destination here for him (Udoka) if they want to keep that team together and want to move on from Steve Nash,” Weiss said via HoopsHype.

“What’s really interesting about this is what if Nash gets fired during the season and Ime is the guy for that job? What happens then? Maybe that’s part of the reason why he isn’t fired yet and is suspended. Maybe the Celtics would like to trade him. That would be really fascinating.”

Michael A. Scotto of HoopsHype also notes that the suspended Celtics coach is ‘fond’ of Durant from the lone season he spent in Brooklyn.

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Celtics Suspend Udoka for 2022-23 NBA Season

Although Udoka is still technically the Celtics coach, he is not currently active with the team. For those who may be tardy to the party, last month, the Celtics suspended Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season. The reason for his suspension was him having an ‘intimate relationship’ with a female staff member, which violates the team code of conduct.

Though Udoka got suspended in September, Shams Charania of “The Athletic” says members of the organization became aware of the situation as early as July.

“Some members of the Celtics organization first became aware of the relationship in July, sources said. At that time, team leadership, was led to believe by both parties that the relationship was consensual,” Charania writes.

“But sources said that the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her — leading the team to launch a set of internal interviews.”

Weiss: Udoka ‘Unlikely’ to Return to Celtics

Though Udoka is suspended for the entire season, the end of his troubles may not be over. After violating the Celtics’ code of conduct, his future with the team is in doubt. Many believe that his getting suspended, as opposed to fired, is just a technicality as the Celtics continue to gather information on the situation.

Weiss believes that Udoka has coached his last game as a Celtic as he says it is unlikely he returns to Boston’s bench once his suspension is up.

“That’s the consensus. I haven’t had anyone in the organization tell me they don’t think he’s coming back. I feel like they’re moving on with that expectation and that the reason for a suspension is more about whatever legal processes are happening right now rather than they genuinely want to reassess it in the future,” Weiss added.

“I’m sure there is some degree of uncertainty whether or not they would bring him back. I don’t think it’s like he’s fired, and it’s set in stone, and that’s it. I’m sure there’s some evaluation that has to be done at some point, but it seems so unlikely that he would come back.”

After dropping two straight games in the preseason, Nash could already be on the hot seat. It will be interesting to see how the team moves forward if Udoka becomes available.