Fresh off of an NBA Finals appearance in his first season as head coach for the Boston Celtics, Ime Udoka appears to be in hot water a few weeks before season two.
According to some vague reporting by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, an unspecified violation of team guidelines will likely lead to what could be a lengthy suspension by the club for the 2022-23 season. Woj first broke the news on Twitter Wednesday night at 10:35 p.m. ET:
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
As you can see, the original tweet didn’t give much information at all. Follow-up tweets and an appearance on SportsCenter, however, shed at least a glimmer of light on possible ramifications and when we can know more about what happened.
“Udoka’s job isn’t believed to be in jeopardy,” said Woj in a follow-up tweet. “But a suspension is looming and a final determination on that length could come out as soon as Thursday.”
As Wojnarowski said multiple times on ESPN since first breaking the report, the matter is internal and not something the NBA itself will be handling, such as was the case with the recent Robert Sarver suspension that led to him correctly deciding to sell the team.
What did Ime Udoka do to deserve disciplinary action?
“I think there’s clarity looming on what the possible length of the suspension will be,” said Wojnarowski. “This has been moving quickly in recent days.”
This may be a case in which the team releases the suspension length as soon as possible so they can line up their next moves, but it’s unlikely they’ll release any details on what exactly happened themselves. Still, there are rumors circulating on what might’ve happened.
It’s important to note that I do not have any insider information on this matter, but a suspicious tweet released before the story broke has a lot of people doing a double take on Twitter.
if there’s one person who will never get fired for sleeping around, it’s ime udoka
— juan benet ramsey (@hijab_creator) September 22, 2022
The user only had 360 followers as of this writing, so they’re not exactly an established account, leading many to believe it could be a burner for someone in the know.
UPDATE,12:50 a.m. ET: Per Shams Charania, Ime Udoka had “an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff.”
Celtics coach Ime Udoka had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. It’s been deemed a violation of franchise’s code of conduct.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 22, 2022
Who will replace Ime Udoka as head coach for now?
Will Hardy was Udoka’s lead assistant last season, but he since went to Utah to replace Quin Snyder as head coach for the upcoming season. “Joe Mazzulla is a name that certainly could be a possibility to become Ime’s replacement for as long as he is out with this suspension,” said Wojnarowski.
“Ime Udoka is facing disciplinary action with the Celtics. I’m told a likely suspension, a significant suspension… Perhaps in the 24-48 hours, I do think that’s coming. It’s been moving quickly here in recent days.”@wojespn on Boston coach Ime Udokapic.twitter.com/sPqyhblQRG
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 22, 2022
As I suspected, it’s hard to keep anything tight-lipped these days, which Charania’s latest tweet proves. With the details of the scandal now on the table, the next step is to see just how long the organization may have Udoka step away.