Ime Udoka’s Celtics Suspension Includes ‘Very Significant Financial Penalty’

The Celtics suspended Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season


September 23

The Boston Celtics’ announcement Thursday regarding Ime Udoka’s season-long suspension left a lot of questions unanswered.

And while Boston president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck met with the media Friday to address the situation, there’s still far more uncertainty than clarity as it relates to Udoka’s actions and the head coach’s future with the organization.

The press release announcing Udoka’s suspension Thursday noted “violations of team policies” — not a singular violation — and didn’t specify whether he’d be paid while serving the ban, which we’ve since learned was handed down by the team after an investigation conducted by an outside law firm. Grousbeck answered questions regarding such Friday, albeit with very few details.

“We weren’t planning to elaborate on either one of those topics, but the suspension comes with a significant financial penalty when you net it all out,” Grousbeck told reporters. “That’s an accurate statement. Very significant financial penalty. And multiple violations, there were a couple of violations at least.”

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning — after ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke the suspension news — that Udoka had “an improper intimate and consensual relationship” with a female staff member. Charania later added the woman recently accused the Celtics head coach of making “unwanted comments” toward her.

Again, neither Stevens nor Grousbeck was willing to divulge much, citing privacy reasons. But it sounds like the Celtics’ locker room was blindsided by the news, further fueling questions about how Boston will respond on the court in the face of adversity. Joe Mazzulla will take over as Boston’s interim head coach as Udoka serves his suspension.

The Celtics remain noncommittal about Udoka’s future with the franchise beyond the 2022-23 season, stating a decision will be made at a later date. Udoka released a statement Thursday night, and Grousbeck added Friday the second-year coach apologized and was accepting of his suspension.

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