The Boston Celtics have suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season, citing “violations of team policies.” The suspension is immediate, the team said as it announced the move Thursday night.
The team did not provide details about any allegations against Udoka, or its findings. But rumours had been swirling about Udoka’s future after reports emerged that he was involved in “an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff,” as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
News of the suspension came just 10 days before the Celtics will open their preseason in early October. It derails Udoka’s attempt to repeat his stellar first year as Boston’s head coach, when he led the team to the NBA finals for the first time since 2010.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said, in a statement shared by 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.”
It’s uncertain whether Udoka will be able to resume coaching the Celtics after the suspension. The organization says it will make a decision about that “at a later date.”
Udoka, 45, became the Celtics’ coach in the summer of 2021 after spending much of the previous decade in assistant coaching jobs with the San Antonio Spurs and two other NBA teams.