the Boston Celts have suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season, citing “violations of team policies”. The suspension is immediate, the team said in announcing the move Thursday night.
The team did not provide details about the allegations against Udoka or their findings. but rumors had been making the rounds 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’s staff,” as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
News of the suspension came just 10 days before the Celtics 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 to have put 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 unclear if Udoka will be able to coach the Celtics again after the suspension. The organization says he will make a decision on the matter “at a later date.”
Udoka, 45, became a Celtics coach in the summer of 2021 after spending much of the previous decade as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and two other NBA teams.