Boston Celtics suspend head coach Ime Udoka for season

Boston Celtics suspend head coach Ime Udoka for season

Calling the suspension of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season “well-warranted,” team leaders on Friday added little detail or specifics about the situation that sidelined him but did name his interim replacement. The Celtics announced the team suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season “for violations of team policies,” adding that “a decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date.”Citing privacy concerns, Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck said he would not comment further on the situation or rumors. “(The suspension) is well-warranted and appropriate and backed by substantial research and evidence and facts, and I’m standing by the decision and Ime has accepted it,” Grousbeck said. Grousbeck said the Celtics organization first became aware of the situation in July, and the investigation concluded earlier this week. Udoka has been suspended until June 30, but it is not clear what will happen beyond that. “We’re not going to talk about the long-term because nothing has been decided,” Grousbeck said.”It’s a really, really tough situation, but we are going to be forward-focused and addressing what we need to address to get everybody ready to go on Tuesday when we start a new season,” said team President Brad Stevens. Stevens also confirmed that Rhode Island native and current assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over as interim head coach.“He is an exceptionally sharp and talented person and I believe strongly in him and his ability to lead people, his ability to galvanize a room and get behind them and his ability to organize and understand all that comes with running a team during a season,” Stevens said. Grousbeck said no other suspensions, punishment or penalties were expected in connection with the investigation. Udoka’s suspension allegedly comes after he made unwanted comments toward a woman in the organization with whom he was having an improper relationship, according to a new report.According to the Athletic, the Celtics were told in July of a consensual relationship between Udoka and a female member of the team staff, but recently the woman accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her.Earlier, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the relationship was considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines.In a statement reported by ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Udoka offered an apology but little additional information.”I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “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.”League sources also confirmed that Udoka will not be resigning.“The outpouring love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me. I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events,” said Nia Long, Udoka’s longtime fiancée and mother of his son. “Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”Udoka spent the bulk of his NBA playing career with San Antonio and then joined Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s staff as an assistant. Udoka was on the Spurs’ staff from 2012 through 2019, winning it all in ’14, and he quickly found his way onto shortlists for open head coaching jobs.He spent the 2019-20 season in Philadelphia and the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn before the Celtics hired him in June 2021 as the successor to Brad Stevens — who moved up to the front office. In Year 1, Udoka finished fourth in coach of the year voting and the Celtics came within two wins of the championship.Boston, the defending Eastern Conference champions, are scheduled to hold media day on Monday and open training camp on Tuesday in preparation for the Oct. 18 season opener.

BOSTON —

Calling the suspension of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season “well-warranted,” team leaders on Friday added little detail or specifics about the situation that sidelined him but did name his interim replacement.

The Celtics announced the team suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season “for violations of team policies,” adding that “a decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date.”

Citing privacy concerns, Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck said he would not comment further on the situation or rumors.

“(The suspension) is well-warranted and appropriate and backed by substantial research and evidence and facts, and I’m standing by the decision and Ime has accepted it,” Grousbeck said.

Grousbeck said the Celtics organization first became aware of the situation in July, and the investigation concluded earlier this week.

Udoka has been suspended until June 30, but it is not clear what will happen beyond that.

“We’re not going to talk about the long-term because nothing has been decided,” Grousbeck said.

“It’s a really, really tough situation, but we are going to be forward-focused and addressing what we need to address to get everybody ready to go on Tuesday when we start a new season,” said team President Brad Stevens.

Stevens also confirmed that Rhode Island native and current assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over as interim head coach.

“He is an exceptionally sharp and talented person and I believe strongly in him and his ability to lead people, his ability to galvanize a room and get behind them and his ability to organize and understand all that comes with running a team during a season,” Stevens said.

Grousbeck said no other suspensions, punishment or penalties were expected in connection with the investigation.

Udoka’s suspension allegedly comes after he made unwanted comments toward a woman in the organization with whom he was having an improper relationship, according to a new report.

According to the Athletic, the Celtics were told in July of a consensual relationship between Udoka and a female member of the team staff, but recently the woman accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her.

Earlier, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the relationship was considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines.

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Ime Udoka

In a statement reported by ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Udoka offered an apology but little additional information.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “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.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 10:  Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics talks to Carsen Edwards #4 during a game against the Denver Nuggets during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Celtics defeated the Nuggets 107-82.

Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Coach Joe Mazzulla

League sources also confirmed that Udoka will not be resigning.

“The outpouring love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me. I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events,” said Nia Long, Udoka’s longtime fiancée and mother of his son. “Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”

Udoka spent the bulk of his NBA playing career with San Antonio and then joined Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s staff as an assistant. Udoka was on the Spurs’ staff from 2012 through 2019, winning it all in ’14, and he quickly found his way onto shortlists for open head coaching jobs.

He spent the 2019-20 season in Philadelphia and the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn before the Celtics hired him in June 2021 as the successor to Brad Stevens — who moved up to the front office. In Year 1, Udoka finished fourth in coach of the year voting and the Celtics came within two wins of the championship.

Boston, the defending Eastern Conference champions, are scheduled to hold media day on Monday and open training camp on Tuesday in preparation for the Oct. 18 season opener.

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