Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for the entirety of the 2022-23 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Udoka’s violation, according to The Athletic, was having an “improper and consensual relationship” with a female member of the Celtics’ staff.
Udoka released a brief statement after the suspension was handed down.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
There were reports that Udoka was considering resigning from his post, but according to Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes, Udoka instead decided to accept the suspension.
However, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Udoka’s job status will be reevaluated after his suspension is complete.
For now, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla will serve as the franchise’s interim head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Udoka — who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season as the team’s head coach — isn’t at risk of losing his job, but a formal announcement on the length of the suspension is expected as soon as Thursday. If Udoka isn’t on Boston’s bench to start the season, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is reportedly a lead candidate to replace him on an interim basis.
This isn’t the first time an NBA team has had a reported affair scandal that led to job uncertainty. Almost a year ago to the day, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with their president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, in part due to a “consensual and intimate relationship” he had with a member of the organization while being married. Rosas joined the team in 2019.
Udoka, 45, has been engaged to actress Nia Long since 2015.
The Celtics will open their preseason against the Charlotte Hornets on Oct. 2. Their regular season opener is on Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
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