Celtics suspend coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season

Sports

FILE – Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka speaks from the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Boston. The Boston Celtics are planning to discipline coach Ime Udoka, likely with a suspension, because of an improper relationship with a member of the organization, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022.(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON (NewsNation) — The Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season, effective immediately, and with no guarantee he will be back with the franchise.

The Celtics said Thursday night that Udoka was suspended for “violations of team policies.” Earlier Thursday, two people with knowledge of the matter said Udoka was being sanctioned because of an improper relationship with a member of the organization. Those people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not reveal that detail publicly.

“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the Celtics said.

ESPN first reported Wednesday night Udoka could face disciplinary action, including a hefty suspension, for an undisclosed violation of organization guidelines. That report stated conversations between the league and the Celtics were taking place to determine the right course of action.

Udoka, in a statement published by ESPN, apologized but did not offer detail.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. 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,” he said.

One of the people who spoke with The AP said Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over on an interim basis.

The Celtics open training camp Tuesday. The suspension of Udoka — who was fourth in the NBA’s coach of the year balloting last season — adds to a run of issues the club is facing going into the start of formal practices.

Boston made some big moves early in the offseason, acquiring Malcolm Brogdon in a trade from Indiana to bolster an already-strong backcourt, then added sharpshooting veteran forward Danilo Gallinari as a free agent.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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