The Brooklyn Nets irked many outside their organization last week for their reported interest in hiring Ime Udoka as the team’s next head coach. It now appears those sentiments are shared by some within the franchise, too.
One day after NBA insider Marc Stein reported there have been “strong voices” urging Nets owner Joe Tsai to back off Udoka as the replacement for the recently fired Steve Nash, another report surfaced Monday broadly hinting those who might feel that way. NJ Advanced Media’s Adam Zagoria reported how there has been concern from “women in leadership positions” about the team’s rumored interest in Udoka, as shared by NBA Central on Twitter.
Zagoria wrote how Tsai is “getting some blowback” with “too much potential drama,” citing a source.
The Boston Celtics suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season due to an “improper relationship” with a female staff member. Additional reports previously surfaced how Udoka made “unwanted comments” and used “crude language” in what started as a consensual relationship with said staffer. The Celtics, while not providing specific details, suspended Udoka due to “multiple” violations of workplace conduct.
The Nets fired Nash on Nov. 1, adding to the ongoing drama with Brooklyn star Kyrie Irving. Irving faced public backlash due to his promotion of a film with anti-Semitic ideologies, and after deflecting when asked to apologize in two different media availabilities, the Nets suspended him for at least five games dating back to last week. Brooklyn is asking Irving to fulfill a series of requirements before he can return to play for the organization. It’s likely that is part of the “drama” referenced by Zagoria.
Both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, two of the most tied-in reporters covering the NBA, expressed how Udoka was the “frontrunner” to land the Nets’ heading coaching job. Wojnarowski even reported Tuesday how his hiring could be finalized in the next 24-to-48 hours, but that obviously has not been the case.
The Celtics reportedly will not ask for compensation from the Nets if the organization does decide to move forward with Udoka, who remains under contract with Boston despite the suspension. The Nets’ willingness to do so, however, seems to be at a crossroads.