Celtics

Celtics suspend Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season for ‘violations’ of team policies

The Celtics did not guarantee Udoka's return after the season.

Ime Udoka
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is suspended for the 2022-23 season. AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn, File

The Celtics announced the suspension of head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season on Thursday, without guaranteeing his return to the role for the following season.

In a statement, the team said the reason for the suspension was Udoka’s “violations” — in the plural — of team policies.

“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the statement read. “The suspension takes effect immediately.”

Udoka released a statement to ESPN’s Malika Andrews as well.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “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.”

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Per reports, Udoka was suspended for having an “intimate, consensual” relationship with a Celtics staffer. Some members of the Celtics organization became aware of the relationship in July, but the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted advances toward her, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported. The incident led the team to launch internal interview on the matter, Charania added.

Udoka reportedly does not intend to resign.

In his first season as Celtics coach, Udoka helped the team turn what started as a disappointing season into its most successful run since 2010. The Celtics were the hottest team in basketball over the second half of last season and made a run to the NBA Finals, where they were eliminated by the Warriors in six games.

Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics — with a new-look bench infused with plenty of talent — were expected to be a favorite going into the season. Udoka’s suspension, however, casts a shadow over what looked like a very promising season just a few weeks ago.

Assistant Joe Mazzulla will reportedly take over for Udoka as the interim head coach. Mazzulla has been with the organization since 2019.

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The Celtics, who are slated to host their Media Day on Monday, open the season Oct. 18 against the 76ers.

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