An NBA head coach could miss the entire 2022-23 season. According to Andrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is facing a year-long suspension for his role in an intimate relationship with a female member of the franchise's staff. The relationship is considered a violation of the Celtics' guidelines, and a formal announcement of the suspension could come as early as Thursday. If Udoka is suspended, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla could become the interim head coach, according to ESPN.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that Udoka allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a staff member. And according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Udoka considered the possibility of resigning. Udoka, 45, was hired to be the Celtics' head coach in June 2021. In his one season in Boston, Udoka led the team to 51 wins and their first NBA Finals appearance since the 2010 season. However, the team could not win the title as they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
ESPN Sources: Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing possible disciplinary action – including a significant suspension – for an unspecified violation of organizational guidelines. Discussions are ongoing within the Celtics on a final determination. pic.twitter.com/1QZb0k326F— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 22, 2022
Obviously, very tough to lose and be in this position," Celtics star Al Horford told CelticsBlog after Game 6. "But I'm very proud of our group, I'm very proud of the growth of our group all year. We went from a below .500 team, average team, to putting it together and I don't want to get caught up in some of the bad stuff that happened tonight. I want us to keep perspective on how much growth Jayson [Tatum] and Jaylen [Brown] had this year. It's a lot on their hands, a lot of responsibility, and they took it in stride, they made adjustments, they improved, they grew as players, but as you can see, there's still a lot of growth and a lot of work for all of us. The Warriors definitely were on a different level and it's something that we have to accept, and we all have to grow."
Udoka is engaged to actress Nia Long, and the couple has a child together. Last October, Long spoke exclusively to PopCulture.com about Udoka being hired as Celtics head coach and said, "I'm so happy for him. I think he's going to kill it," He's one of the most disciplined people I know. He's worked really hard for this and now he's got to just get to work with his players and do what he does best. So, it's an exciting time for our family to be able to sit in the stands."