Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for the 2022-23 season for allegedly having a consensual relationship with a female Celtics staffer.
The Celtics said Thursday that Udoka was suspended, effective immediately, for “violations of team policies” and that “a decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date.”
Last season with the Celtics was Udoka’s first as a head coach in the NBA, and he led Boston to an Eastern Conference title and NBA Finals where the Celtics lost to the Golden State Warriors. The Celtics are favored to win the East with a returning core featuring Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.
Before becoming coach of the Celtics, Udoka was an assistant coach in the NBA and had long been considered one of the top assistants in the league.
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Who is Ime Udoka?
Udoka, 45 and a native of Portland, Oregon, attended Utah State Eastern and San Francisco and finished his college career at Portland State, averaging 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in his senior season.
Born in the United States, Udoka is of Nigerian descent and played for Nigeria’s national team in international competitions.
Did Ime Udoka play in the NBA?
Udoka was undrafted in 2000 and spent a few seasons in low level pro leagues in the United States. He also played in Spain and France. His NBA career began with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003-04, and included stints with the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings.
He appeared in 316 NBA games, his best season coming in 2006-07 when he averaged 8.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 75 games for the Trail Blazers.
What is Ime Udoka’s coaching career?
Following his final season as a pro in Spain in 2012, Udoka joined the Spurs coaching staff and was part of the team that defeated the Miami Heat in the 2014 Finals. He spent a season with the Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) and a season with the Brooklyn Nets (2020-21). Following Brad Stevens’ decision to leave the bench and move into Boston’s front office, the Celtics hired Udoka.
Udoka brought a defensive-minded mentality. He is tough on players in person and in the media, but they respect his approach. Udoka helped turn the Celtics into a championship contender, especially in the second half of the season when they turned a 23-24 record into a 51-31 record and the second seed in the East.
He went head-to-head with great coaches in the playoffs (Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer and Golden State’s Steve Kerr) and more than held his own.
Is Ime Udoka married?
Udoka has been in a long-term relationship with actress Nia Long. They became engaged in 2015 and have a 10-year-old son.
What’s next for the Celtics?
The Eastern Conference champion Celtics made several major moves this offseason in an effort to remain a championship contender, adding guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers and signing free agent forward Danilo Gallinari. However, Gallinari injured his knee and will miss the entire season.
Boston’s top assistant last season, Will Hardy, accepted the head coaching job with the Utah Jazz job during the offseason. Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to take over the Celtics on an interim basis, according to reports.
Contributing: The Associated Press, Steve Gardner
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ime Udoka: What we know about the suspended Celtics head coach