After reports of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka allegedly having an intimate, but consensual, relationship with a female Celtics staffer, according to ESPN, which is against team policy, the second-year coach has been suspended for the upcoming NBA season.
The NBA team released a statement on Thursday regarding the suspension.
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 23, 2022
After being informed of the decision, Udoka gave a statement to ESPN:
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement to ESPN‘s Malika Andrews. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
NEW: Statement from Celtics coach Ime Udoka pic.twitter.com/MFutFx7c3l
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 23, 2022
Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla was named the interim head coach.
After replacing head coach Brad Stevens who became the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, Udoka became the fifth head coach in the last 25 years to take his team to the NBA Finals in his first season as head coach.
In last year’s playoffs, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Udoka was the first rookie coach to win multiple Game 7s in his first appearance during the playoffs. The former head coach overtook the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals and then took the Miami Heat to the limit in the Eastern Conference finals after eliminating them in seven games. They ran out of steam when they went up against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals as they were only able to win 2 games against them.