Celtics coach Ime Udoka’s alleged dalliance will cost him the entire 2022-23 NBA season.
The organization announced Thursday that Udoka has been suspended for the 2022-23 season after having what has been reported as an improper and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff, a violation of the franchise’s code of conduct.
“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the Celtics said in a statement.
The 45-year-old Udoka, who was hired by the Celtics from Steve Nash’s coaching staff with the Nets in 2021, has been in a relationship with actress Nia Long since 2010. They share a son together.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement. “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.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported late Wednesday night that Udoka was facing disciplinary action, possibly for the entire upcoming season. He is not expected to resign, according to TNT’s Chris Haynes.
In Udoka’s first season as head coach, the Celtics reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010 before falling in six games to the Warriors. They finished the regular season with a 28-7 mark over their final 35 games before eliminating the Nets, Bucks and Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Udoka, who also spent nine seasons as an assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, replaced Brad Stevens as Boston’s head coach after the latter was promoted to president of basketball operations last year.
With training camp slated to open next week, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla was named as the interim head coach in Udoka’s absence. Will Hardy, Udoka’s lead assistant last season, was named head coach of the Jazz in June.