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Celtics suspend Ime Udoka for the season for ‘violations’ of team policies


Celtics

The Celtics have not guaranteed Udoka’s return after the season.

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is suspended for the 2022-23 season. AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn, File

The Celtics announced the suspension of the head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season on Thursday, without guaranteeing his return to the role for the following season.

In a statement, the team said the reason for the suspension was Udoka’s “violations” – plural – of team policies.

“A decision regarding his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the statement read. “The suspension takes effect immediately.”

Udoka issued a statement to ESPN’s Malika Andrews as well.

“I want to apologize to our players, our fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “I am sorry to have put the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further.

According to reports, Udoka was suspended for having a “intimate and consensual” relationship with a member of Celtics staff. He reportedly has no intention of quitting pending the Celtics’ decision on his future status.

In his first season as Celtics coach, Udoka helped the team turn what started out as a disappointing season into a his most successful run since 2010. The Celtics were the hottest team in basketball during the second half of last season and made a run to the NBA Finals, where they were eliminated by the Warriors in six games.

Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics – with a new bench imbued with plenty of talent – ​​were expected to be the favorites going into the season. Udoka’s suspension, however, cast a shadow on what looked like a very promising season just a few weeks ago.

Assistant Joe Mazzulla will be would have succeeds Udoka as interim head coach. Mazzulla has been part of the organization since 2019.

The Celtics, who are due to hold their media day on Monday, will open the season Oct. 18 against the 76ers.



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