Celtics Offer Best Wishes To Ime Udoka After Landing Job With Rockets

'I think he'll do a good job'


Apr 25, 2023

Ime Udoka may no longer be welcomed in the Celtics organization, however, there’s no bad blood between the former Boston head coach and several current team members, who played under the 45-year-old last season.

After going through the wringer that was a multi-month media storm following the news of Udoka’s role in a scandal, his time in Boston was done. The Celtics issued Udoka a season-long suspension and throughout the campaign, they implicated that he’d never return, promoting his replacement in Joe Mazzulla to the head coaching role before NBA All-Star weekend.

Now, before the end of first-round playoff action, Udoka is back on his feet. The Houston Rockets hired Udoka, reportedly naming him the team’s next head coach Monday night. And the news was well-received by Celtics members before their Game 5 matchup with the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

“I’m happy for him, definitely wish him the best and he’s gonna do a good job out there,” Derrick White told reporters during team practice, per CLNS Media video. “… Definitely a good basketball mind and he’s gonna do a good job.”

White added: “I didn’t text him or anything but I definitely wish him the best and want the best for him. … I think he’ll do a good job of changing the culture over there.”

Udoka only spent one season as Celtics head coach, but showed promise. Taking over following a rocky Brad Stevens era, Udoka quickly had the ears of the Celtics locker room. Players bought in and trusted the former NBA veteran, making it evident in their polished play style and drive to overcome a slow start to the 2021-22 regular season — promoting many to count the C’s out — to then book an NBA Finals appearance.

Now, Udoka joins a Rockets team with young talent, cap space and plenty of room for improvement, making for a project that’ll certainly test the abilities of a soon-to-be second-year head coach.

“I think it’s good. I think it’s good for him, I’m happy for him,” Al Horford said, per CLNS Media video. “… I think it’s good for him to get that opportunity. Our feel is, we have a big game ahead of us. … Our ability to win this game, that’s all we’re looking at right now.”

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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