Celtics coach Ime Udoka faces disciplinary action for violating team rules – The Boston Globe

Celtics coach Ime Udoka faces disciplinary action for violating team rules - The Boston Globe

Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing a suspension for violating team policy, a league source confirmed late Wednesday night. The source said the discipline was likely to be decided soon, but declined to elaborate on Udoka’s situation.

The Athletic reported early Thursday morning that Udoka, 45, had an improperly intimate and consensual relationship with a female teammate. Udoka has been engaged to actress Nia Long since 2015, and the couple have an 11-year-old son.

According to ESPN, the Celtics are considering a suspension that could last up to a year.

After a difficult start, in which the Celtics appeared in danger of missing the playoffs last season, Udoka led the team to the NBA Finals in his first season as an NBA head coach and finished fourth in Coach of the Year voting. He gained the trust and respect of his players with his demanding, disciplined style that was built on accountability.

It is unclear which Celtics assistant would replace Udoka if he is suspended. Will Hardy, Boston’s top assistant last season, would have been the obvious choice, but in June he was named head coach of the Jazz. Ben Sullivan led Boston’s Las Vegas summer league team in July and was an assistant with the Bucks when they won the NBA title in 2021. Joe Mazzulla, viewed as a rising star in training, interviewed for Utah’s opening before eventually being promoted to a bench role. on Udoka’s staff this summer.

After coming within two wins of an NBA title last June, the Celtics added veterans Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to their young, talented roster, which is built around first team All-NBA selection Jayson Tatum. Boston eventually became the betting favorite to win the championship.

But the past few weeks have been empty.

Gallinari tore his ACL while playing for Italy in a FIBA ​​World Cup qualifier and is expected to miss the entire season. Then on Tuesday, the Celtics announced that center Robert Williams, who missed a month last spring after tearing his meniscus, will undergo a second surgery on his left knee and be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Now, Udoka’s situation made things even more unsettling. The Celtics are scheduled to hold a media day on Monday before opening training camp at the Auerbach Center on Tuesday.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.

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