Celtics suspend Udoka for 2022-23 season, reportedly won't guarantee return
The Boston Celtics suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season, the team announced Thursday.
Udoka reportedly had an intimate relationship with a female staffer, which breached the team's code of conduct. The Celtics officially attributed Udoka's ban to "violations of team policies" but did not provide specifics.
The relationship was originally reported to have been consensual. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Celtics leadership was reportedly "led to believe by both parties" that this was the case after first learning of the relationship in July. However, the woman recently said Udoka had made unwanted comments toward her, and the team conducted internal interviews in response, sources told Charania.
Boston named assistant coach Joe Mazzulla as interim coach for the season on Friday.
"I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down," Udoka said in a statement, courtesy of ESPN's Malika Andrews. "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."
Boston did not guarantee Udoka that he would return as its head coach after serving his suspension, a source told Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix.
"A decision about (Udoka's) future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date," the team stated in its release.
Udoka will not resign as Celtics head coach, sources told Chris Haynes of TNT.
The Celtics hired Udoka in June 2021. He led them to their first Finals appearance since 2010 after they amassed a 51-31 regular-season record in his debut campaign as an NBA head coach.
Mazzulla, 34, has been an assistant with Boston since June 2019. He does not have prior head coaching experience in the NBA but was head coach of Division II school Fairmont State for two seasons before joining the Celtics.