The Boston Celtics Hits Keep Coming, but the Latest Involving Ime Udoka Is Reportedly Self-Inflicted
Training camp hasn’t even begun, yet the Boston Celtics already have a season worth of problems.
The team saw newcomer Danilo Gallinari go down with a torn ACL in a summer game. Center Robert Williams III continues to deal with a nagging knee injury that requires another surgery. The latest hit is drama related but is expected to result in a “significant suspension” for head coach Ime Udoka.
Ime Udoka drama casts another cloud over the Boston Celtics
The Celtics have been tested for the 2022-23 season, and camp is still a week away. Udoka is the latest member of the team to find himself making headlines.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski fired off a late Wednesday report that the Celtics coach faced a lengthy suspension for an “unspecified violation of organizational guidelines.” Woj also tweeted that it was believed Udoka’s job wasn’t in jeopardy, but a suspension was looming and could be announced as early as Thursday.
Early Thursday morning, Shama Charania of The Athletic tweeted the reason for that possible suspension.
“Celtics coach Ime Udoka had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium,” he wrote. “It’s been deemed a violation of franchise’s code of conduct.”
Udoka heads into his second season with the Celtics. He struggled in the early part of his first year with the team but headed a turnaround that saw Boston reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
What’s next for the Celtics?
It’s been a tough go for the Celtics since they lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. Brad Stevens addressed the team’s biggest need by adding to its depth. Stevens traded for veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon and then signed Gallinari, a veteran forward, to provide bench help.
Gallinari tore his ACL after a non-contact injury during a FIBA World Cup qualifying game in Italy last month. It was also reported that Williams, Boston’s starting center, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this week. Williams tore the meniscus in that knee late in the regular season. The injury hobbled him throughout the playoffs.
What happens if Udoka is out for any length of time? Does Stevens, who coached the team for eight years, come back and fill in? Udoka’s top assistant, Will Hardy, left in the offseason to replace Quin Snyder as head coach of the Utah Jazz.
According to ESPN, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla, who also was in contention for the Jazz job, would be a serious interim candidate. ESPN also reported that there are scenarios that would keep Udoka out for the entire 2022-23 season.
It was an ugly beginning to Udoka’s first year as coach, but at least the regular season had already started.