The Boston Celtics suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-2023 season for violating team policy by having an intimate relationship with a female staffer, according to multiple reports—just months after he led the team to the NBA Finals in his first year as head coach.
Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over for Udoka when the NBA season starts next month, the Boston Globe reported, although the team is reportedly not considering firing him, according to ESPN.
ESPN and the Athletic had reported Wednesday night that disciplinary discussions are ongoing in the Celtics organization after the discovery of the consensual relationship that violated team guidelines, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
The Celtics could not be immediately reached for comment.
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NBA training camps are set to begin at the end of the month. The Celtics’ regular season opener is against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 19.
Udoka led the Celtics to a 51-31 regular season record ahead of a run to the NBA Finals that shocked many league observers last season, Udoka’s first as Celtics coach. The run marked a massive turnaround in the team’s fortunes from the year before, when the Celtics finished 36-36 in a Covid-shortened season and were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. The team’s finals appearance last year was the first for the storied franchise since 2010. Udoka’s coaching tenure comes after he played more than a decade as a professional basketball player, which included stints with five NBA teams.