Ime Udoka’s coaching future in the NBA certainly is in doubt after being suspended for the entire 2022-23 season by the Boston Celtics.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported new details Friday as to what led to the Celtics serving a ban, and also had information on Udoka’s standing as a coach after this upcoming campaign.
It seems very unlikely Udoka returns to the Celtics following this season — Wojnarowksi reported as such — and the organization reportedly won’t prevent him from coaching with a new team if that opportunity arises.
“Sources told ESPN the Celtics won’t stand in Udoka’s way should he have the chance to become a coaching candidate elsewhere,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Following his suspension, Udoka might not have to wait long for another job. There already seems to be reported interest from teams around the league in him as a coach with groundwork already being done.
“There are teams that have tried to gather a preliminary understanding of the full explanation for Udoka’s suspension in preparation for possibly evaluating him for future coaching employment,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Despite the scandal and details being scarce, it’s not completely surprising that other teams might see Udoka as a future coaching candidate. Udoka had a very successful campaign in his first season as a head coach with the Celtics last year. Udoka led Boston to a 51-31 regular-season record and guided it to an NBA Finals appearance.
But teams certainly will dig into the allegations against Udoka that he had an improper relationship with a Celtics staffer and made “crude” remarks to the individual prior to the start of it.
With Udoka suspended, the Celtics have handed the reins to Joe Mazzulla as the team’s interim head coach. Mazzulla, 34, is the youngest head coach in the NBA this season, but has garnered respect from players and those outside the organization as well.
It could be a tryout season for Mazzulla to try to retain the job after the season as all signs point that the next time Udoka is in TD Garden, it will be as an opposing coach.