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Celtics droop coach Ime Udoka for total 2022-23 NBA season

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Ime Udoka coached the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season on the job. (Michael Reaves / Getty Pictures)

The Boston Celtics have suspended second-year head coach Ime Udoka for all the 2022-23 NBA season for violations of the staff’s code of conduct, the group introduced on Thursday night time.

Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will function the staff’s interim head coach in Udoka’s absence, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. A call about Udoka’s longterm future with the staff past the 2022-23 season, the Celtics mentioned, “will likely be made at a later date.” Udoka issued an apology in a obscure assertion.

“I need to apologize to our gamers, followers, all the Celtics group, and my household for letting them down,” Udoka mentioned, via ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “I’m sorry for placing the staff on this tough scenario, and I settle for the staff’s choice. Out of respect for everybody concerned, I’ll haven’t any additional remark.”

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in a single day on Thursday, citing nameless sources, that Udoka allegedly “had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a feminine member of the staff employees.”

Udoka led the Celtics to their first NBA Finals look since 2010 in his debut season as a head coach. Boston is the favourite to win the 2023 championship, in accordance with BetMGM. Udoka performed components of seven NBA seasons for 5 totally different groups earlier than becoming a member of the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant in 2012. The 45-year-old additionally frolicked as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets earlier than the Celtics gave him an overdue alternative to guide a staff. He completed fourth in Coach of the Yr voting final season.

Mazzulla was an assistant for Boston’s G League affiliate in Maine throughout the 2016-17 season. He coached West Virginia’s Fairmont State College on the Division II faculty degree for 2 seasons earlier than becoming a member of then-Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ employees as an assistant in 2019. Stevens moved into Boston’s entrance workplace in 2021, assuming the function vacated by former president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and in addition hiring Udoka.

The 34-year-old Mazzulla coached the Celtics’ 2021 Las Vegas Summer season League roster to the championship sport. He interviewed for the pinnacle teaching place that Udoka stuffed final yr. Over the summer time, Mazzulla additionally interviewed with Ainge, now the chief Utah Jazz govt, for the opening left by head coach Quin Snyder’s departure. The Jazz finally employed Will Hardy, the lead assistant on Udoka’s employees final season.

“I talked to all people within the group after I received employed, gamers included, and he received glowing evaluations,” Udoka mentioned of Mazzulla in June, when information of his Jazz interview broke. “I did not know a lot about him going into it, however I take the gamers’ opinions at a excessive worth, and he was a man that was a consensus sure. … It is simple to see why, as soon as I received to know him and be round him. What I’ve inspired our guys to do is be extra vocal, be extra on the market, and get their very own voice, in the identical method I used to be introduced up in San Antonio. “

A monumental job awaits Mazzulla. Udoka drew rave evaluations for uplifting Boston’s transformation from a sub-.500 staff at midseason right into a juggernaut. Over the ultimate three months of final season, the Celtics owned the league’s greatest document (28-8), greatest offensive score (120 factors per 100 possessions) and greatest defensive score (105.1 factors allowed per 100 possessions). They captured the Jap Convention’s No. 2 seed, sweeping the Brooklyn Nets within the first spherical of the playoffs and defeating the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Warmth in consecutive seven-game sequence, earlier than dropping to the Golden State Warriors within the Finals, 4-2 .

Following the commerce acquisition of former Rookie of the Yr Malcolm Brogdon in July, which bolstered Boston’s probabilities of returning to the Finals, the Celtics have suffered a string of unlucky information occasions. Veteran ahead Danilo Gallinari, who signed a free-agent contract with the Celtics this summer time, tore his left ACL whereas taking part in for Italy in a FIBA ​​World Cup qualifier in late August. Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that All-Defensive middle Robert Williams III will bear arthroscopic surgical procedure this week on his left knee.

The Celtics are scheduled to host their media day festivities on Monday at 12 pm ET.

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Ben Rohrbach is a employees author for Yahoo Sports activities. Have a tip? E mail him at or comply with him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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