We’re less than a week before most NBA training camps kick off, and as it’s fast approaching, big news has arrived about the Boston Celtics potentially suspending their head coach, Ime Udoka, for the entire 2022-23 NBA season. Initially, the details of the reasons for the suspension were unknown and cited as a violation of organizational rules. However, Shams Charania published by The Athletic More details via Twitter that the suspension involved “an inappropriate intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of team staff.”
After a day of speculation, it was revealed that the head coach would indeed be suspended for the entirety of the upcoming season. The Celts shared the news via a press release on their official Twitter account on September 22 at 9:23 p.m.
Udoka was on Steve Nash’s coaching staff as an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets before he was offered the job in Boston. Much of his suspension remains speculation, but in a recent episode of the Celtics Collective Podcast, Celtics beat writer Adam Taylor wondered if the suspension was a way to fire Udoka without firing him.
“If you look at how Udoka is doing, doesn’t his position become untenable anyway? Isn’t that a situation where you shoot without shooting? Right now you’re putting him in a position where his whole ethos around the Celtics is built on accountability and professionalism, you know, and now all of a sudden you weren’t professional and you didn’t hold yourself accountable for your actions. This is obviously a bit of speculation because we don’t know what’s going on. But now if you’re suspended for a year and you come back and try to continue implementing that culture in your team so quickly, you won’t be able to have the same authority as last season. And will Ime Udoka be ready to sit on the sidelines for a year and take his lumps? This way? It feels like that year-long suspension, and we saw, um, I think that was it Chris Mannix who tweeted this adds that Udoka has been considering the possibility of resigning and I think this could be a way to fire Udoka without firing him,” Taylor said on the most recent episode of the podcast.
Udoka’s suspension is only for this year and he could return next season. However, Boston’s reaction leaves you wondering if there is more to the story. Heavy’s Sean Deveney, on the same podcast, wondered if the future of Udoka’s career could be affected by the suspension.
“It’s something you have to ask yourself when you’re Ime Udoka. “Okay if I have a year suspension. You don’t know what’s on the other end, what’s on the other end of it.” But I think you also have to ask yourself at the end of this suspension, if I step down, can I come back to this job? Where’s my next job? Where do I go after that? You know, because this, this, I mean, this could be a career ending for him, and I’m sure he obviously doesn’t want it either. So yeah, he’s in a pretty untenable situation here.”