The Boston Celtics dealt with quite the blow in the days leading up to training camp, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to blindly flip the page in preparation of the season.
Boston suspended head coach Ime Udoka on Sept. 22 for violations organizational policy. Udoka reportedly made ?unwanted? comments to a female staffer after initially being involved in an ?improper? yet ?consensual? relationship with that individual. On Sept. 26, the Celtics opened training camp with media day, with players admitting the entire ordeal has made things difficult as they prepare to defend their Eastern Conference title.
Given the difficult nature of the entire situation, Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla has openly supported his players taking as much time as they need getting comfortable to what has become the new normal.
“You can’t rush trust. You can’t rush healing. You can’t rush any of that,” Mazzulla said Monday, as transcribed by the Associated Press. “Regardless of what has happened, we have a great roster and we have a great opportunity. That’s what I have to focus on.
“I think we have to do this together. I don’t think we need to speed up decisions or speed up identity. I think we have to be patient. We have to rely on the foundations that we built as far as relationships. And the foundations and habits that we built on the basketball court, because they’re successful.”
Celtics players weren’t the only ones blindsided by the news, Mazzulla himself learned of Udoka’s suspension and became the interim coach within a 72-hour period. All coming from a similar place, perhaps the players and coaches who will move forward with the team into the regular season can come together through the shared adversity and make another run at the NBA Finals.
The Celtics begin preseason play on Sunday, Oct. 2 against the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden.