Mazzulla is taking over during a less-than-ideal time, but team owner Wyc Grousbeck and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens expressed their confidence in the Rhode Island native Friday during a press conference addressing Udoka’s suspension.
“Joe’s going to be in charge,” Stevens said during a press conference. “It’s not easy timing for him or the rest of the staff, but he’s an exceptionally sharp and talented person. I believe strongly in him and his ability to lead people and his ability to galvanize a room and get behind him. And his ability to organize and understand all that comes with running a team during the season. He’s got really good help on his staff ?- Damon Stoudamire and Ben Sullivan — those two guys are critical.
“They’ve got a good staff, a good group and on down the line. … They’re a really good group and they’re going to need to pull together and they’re going to need to really support each other. … This will be an unbelievable challenge, but I’m really confident in the coaching staff taking the court on Tuesday.”
Grousbeck echoed Stevens’ sentiments.
“I probably know Joe the best,” he told reporters during the televised news conference. “This season on the road in the playoffs, we spent more time together with dinners and whatnot, and he’s just passionate. He’s filled with passion and energy.”
It’s unclear if Mazzulla will have the interim dropped from his title after this season as the Celtics have yet to decide what happens to Udoka after 2022-23.
The Celtics begin training camp Tuesday as they get set to defend their Eastern Conference title and will need to do everything they can to block out any and all distractions.