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Former Nets assistant Ime Udoka suspended for relationship with Celtics staffer – The Denver Post


The Boston Celtics have suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 NBA season for violating team policies, the team announced in a statement late Thursday. In the statement, the Celtics said they would make a decision regarding Udoka’s future with the team at a later date.

Joe Mazzulla will serve as interim head coach for the season.

ESPN first reported late Wednesday night that Udoka could face possible disciplinary action — “including a significant suspension” — for violating an unspecified team organizational directive. Shortly after, The Athletic reported that Udoka had “an inappropriate and intimate consensual relationship with a female team staff member”, which violates the Celtics’ code of conduct.

“We have a lot of talented women in our organization and I thought yesterday was really tough for them,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said Friday. “No one can control the speculation on Twitter and the rampant bullshit, but I think we have a responsibility to make sure we’re there to support it.”

Udoka released a statement to ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Thursday. “I want to apologize to our players, our fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” he wrote. “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.

Udoka’s suspension also comes with a significant financial penalty. Celtics Governor Wyc Grousbeck said the organization has hired a law firm to handle its internal investigation into Udoka’s intimate relationship issue.

Udoka’s replacement also has a checkered history. Mazzulla was arrested for domestic battery in 2009 while a member of the West Virginia men’s basketball team. The team suspended him indefinitely after he allegedly grabbed a woman by the neck in a bar.

Stevens said they carefully considered Mazzulla when they first hired him as an assistant. “I strongly believe that probably shaped him into who he is today in a very good way,” he said. “But he will be the first to tell you that he is 110% responsible for this and I will be the first to tell you that I believe him.”

Udoka took the Celtics job after spending a season as Steve Nash’s top assistant coach in Brooklyn. He quickly rose through the ranks as one of the best tacticians in the NBA and helped make Boston the No. 1 defense in the NBA in the second half of last season.

His Celtics swept the Nets in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and took a 2-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals before ultimately losing the series in six games. Udoka replaced former Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who moved into a front office role after serving as head coach at Boston for eight seasons.

He became the first rookie head coach to win multiple 7 games in a playoff series – beating both Milwaukee and Miami in win-or-go home situations – and captained a 28-run -7 in the second half of the season after the Celtics started. .500.

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