BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season, efficient instantly, with no assure he’ll return with the franchise.
“A choice on his future with the Celtics past this season shall be made at a later date,” the Celtics mentioned.
Udoka, in a press release printed by ESPN, apologized however supplied no particulars.
“I wish to apologize to our gamers, followers, your complete Celtics group and my household for letting them down. I remorse placing the workforce on this tough state of affairs and I agree with the workforce’s resolution. Out of respect for everybody concerned, I can’t remark additional,” he mentioned.
Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over on an interim foundation, one of many individuals who spoke to the AP mentioned.
Mazzulla interviewed for the Utah Jazz teaching job this summer time, which in the end went to Will Hardy, one other of Udoka’s assistants in Boston final season. Udoka’s different assistant coaches had been Damon Stoudemire, Ben Sullivan, Aaron Miles and Tony Dobbins.
Udoka had a stellar first season with the Celtics, ending the common season 51-31 — going 26-6 within the ultimate 32 video games — and Boston swept Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami en path to the NBA Finals. The Celtics misplaced the championship collection to the Golden State Warriors in six video games.
Shedding Udoka can be a major blow to a workforce that was closely favored to win the NBA title this season.
The developments are paying homage to the shakeup throughout the town earlier in 2020 when Purple Sox supervisor Alex Cora was suspended by Main League Baseball for a 12 months for his function in a sign-stealing scandal at his earlier job, with the Houston Astros. As a substitute, the edges cut up.
After a last-place end below Ron Roenick throughout a pandemic-shortened season, Cora was reassigned a 12 months later and welcomed again.
Whether or not Udoka will comply with that path is unclear at finest.
Udoka, 45, spent a lot of his NBA profession enjoying with San Antonio, then continued his time with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, becoming a member of his employees as an assistant. Udoka was on the Spurs employees from 2012 to 2019, and it did not take lengthy for him to develop into one of many names showing on the quick record of candidates when head teaching jobs opened up.
He spent the 2019-20 season in Philadelphia, the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn, after which the Celtics employed him in June 2021 to succeed Brad Stevens — who moved right into a front-office function.
”The longer term is shiny and we’re simply getting began,” Udoka mentioned after the NBA Finals.
The Celtics will maintain a media day, a session the place coaches, gamers and officers will meet with reporters, and open coaching camp on Tuesday. And the absence of Udoka — who completed fourth within the NBA’s Coach of the Yr final season — will overshadow what needs to be a season of excessive expectations.
This additionally provides to the foremost issues the membership is going through when beginning observe.
Boston made some large strikes early within the offseason, buying Malcolm Brogdon in a commerce from Indiana to bolster an already sturdy backcourt, then including sharpshooting veteran ahead Danilo Gallinari as a free agent.
However final month, Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee and can miss the upcoming season. Heart Robert Williams, a key a part of Boston’s defensive scheme who performed by means of knee issues in final season’s playoffs, remains to be coping with knee issues and isn’t anticipated to be prepared to begin this season.
Brooklyn ahead Kevin Durant, the perennial All-Star who was wished by the Nets to maneuver elsewhere — then pulled again on the demand a number of weeks later. It could have taken a major package deal of gamers, together with Jaylen Brown, to land Durant, and commerce talks would have left some questioning about his future in Boston.
Mazzulla’s solely earlier expertise as a head coach was a two-year stint at Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia, the place he went 43-17 and gained the NCAA Event in his second season. Mazzulla – a local of Rhode Island, New England – performed faculty basketball at West Virginia, was an assistant with the Celtics’ G League workforce earlier than taking up at Fairmont State after which being rehired by the Celtics in June 2019. A part of Stevens’ employees.
Mazula’s final sport at Fairmont State was in opposition to Mercyhurst. His first actual sport with the Celtics shall be a bit higher watched and attended — in opposition to Philadelphia, in Boston, on Oct. 18 within the first sport of the brand new NBA season.
It is the second main disciplinary case within the NBA, following commissioner Adam Silver’s resolution final week to droop Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury proprietor Robert Sarver for one 12 months and positive him $10 million. An investigation revealed his sample of disturbing office conduct, together with abusive and racist language. Sarwar mentioned on Wednesday that he intends to promote his workforce.