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Celtics suspend head coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season for violating team policy

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season.

“A decision about his future with the Celtics after this season will be made at a later date,” the Celtics said.

In a statement released by ESPN, Udoka apologized but did not provide further details.

“I would like to apologize to the players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for the disappointment. I apologize for putting the team in such a difficult situation and accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for all involved, I will refrain from further comment.”

Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazura will take over on an interim basis, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Mazura interviewed for a coaching job with the Utah Jazz this summer and eventually handed the job over to Will Hardy, another of Udoka’s assistants in Boston last season. Udoka’s other assistant coaches included Damon Stoudemire, Ben Sullivan, Aaron Miles and Tony Dobbins.

Udoka had a glorious first season with the Celtics, finishing the regular season 51-31 (26-6 in the last 32 games) and leading Boston to the NBA Finals via Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami. . The Celtics lost to the Golden State Warriors in his six games.

Losing Udoka would be a huge blow to a team widely considered to be one of the frontrunners in contention for the NBA title this season.

The development sparked an uproar in the streets in 2020 when Red Sox manager Alex Cora was suspended from Major League Baseball for a year for his involvement in a sign-stealing scandal with his former employer, the Houston Astros. remind me. Instead, the sides parted.

After finishing bottom under Ron Lenicke in a pandemic-shortened season, Cora was rehired and welcomed a year later.

Whether or not Udoka will follow that path is the least known.

Udoka, 45, spent most of his NBA career in San Antonio before joining his staff as an assistant to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Udoka said he was on the Spurs staff from 2012 until he was in 2019, but it didn’t take long for him to become one of the names that tend to pop up on short lists of candidates when head coaching jobs begin. It didn’t take.

After he spent the 2019-20 season in Philadelphia and the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn, the Celtics hired him in June 2021 to replace Brad Stevens, who will become a front office manager. moved to a role.

“The future is bright and we’re just getting started,” Udoka said after the NBA Finals.

Probably not.

The Celtics will hold a media day for coaches, players and executives to meet with reporters on Monday and open training camp on Tuesday. It would overshadow what was supposed to be the beginning of a highly anticipated season.

It also adds to the set of major issues facing the club towards the start of practice.

Boston made some big moves early in the offseason, acquiring Malcolm Brogdon from Indiana in a trade to bolster an already strong backcourt, then veteran sniper forward Danilo Gallinari as a free agent. was added.

But last month, Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee and will be out next season. Williams is still dealing with knee issues and is expected to be unprepared for the start of the season.

The Celtics were also prominently featured in trade speculation surrounding Brooklyn forward Kevin Durant. Durant had wanted a move elsewhere by the Nets, but withdrew that request after a few weeks. Talk of the trade likely left them wondering about their future in Boston.

Mazura’s only experience as a head coach to date was a two-year stint at Fairmont State University in Division II of West Virginia, where he went 43-17 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in his second season. Did. A New England native from Rhode Island, Mazura played college basketball at West Virginia University and was an assistant to the Celtics’ G League team before moving to Fairmont State University, where he signed in June 2019. Part of Stevens’ staff again hired by the Celtics.

Mazzulla’s last game at Fairmont State was against Mercyhurst. His first real game for the Celtics will get a little more attention and attendance in the first game of the new NBA season against Philadelphia on Oct. 18 in Boston.

It’s the second NBA record in weeks, following Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision last week to suspend Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Thurber for a year and fine him $10 million. It was a serious disciplinary action. An investigation revealed his pattern of offensive behavior at work, including abusive and racist language. Serval said Wednesday he intends to sell the team.

Celtics suspend head coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season for violating team policy

Source link Celtics suspend head coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season for violating team policy

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