Celtics coach Ime Udoka reportedly will be suspended for a lengthy period of time — perhaps the entire season — due to his role in an “intimate, consensual” relationship with a woman on the Celtics’ staff.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, however, Udoka does not plan to step away from his role as Celtics head coach as he awaits a decision on the length of his suspension.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics will replace Udoka on the sideline with assistant coach Joe Mazzulla, who has been with the team since 2019. Mazzulla was a candidate for the head coaching role with the Jazz this offseason, along with former Celtics assistant Will Hardy. Hardy ultimately landed the job.
Last year was Udoka’s first with the Celtics. He replaced Brad Stevens, who stepped down after a disappointing campaign in 2020-21 to become the team’s President of Basketball Operations, replacing Danny Ainge. The front-office shakeup proved successful — the Celtics reached the NBA Finals as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finally broke out of their Eastern Conference Finals rut in their third attempt. The Warriors eliminated the Celtics from the Finals in six games.
The Celtics had high expectations this year after Stevens bolstered the bench significantly in the offseason and put together a team that appeared ready to contend for a title.
In recent weeks, however, the Celtics’ best-laid plans have fallen apart. Danilo Gallinari, one of the high-profile signings, tore his ACL playing for the Italian national team and could miss the entire season. Robert Williams — who was crucial to last year’s run — will have arthroscopic surgery on his balky left knee after tearing his meniscus in March.
Now the Celtics will have to deal with coaching drama with Media Day looming on Monday.
The Celtics open their season at home against the 76ers on Oct. 18.
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