Boston Celtics suspend coach Ime Udoka for 2022-23 season

BOSTON — Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the 2022-23 season on Thursday after reports of an improper relationship with a female member of the organization, the team said.

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The relationship is considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines, ESPN reported.

In a statement, the Celtics said that Udoka, 45, was suspended for a “violation of team policies.” The team said the suspension was effective immediately and that a decision about the coach’s future with the team “will be made at a later date.”

Udoka, in his first year as head coach, transformed the Celtics from a sub-.500 team into a playoff contender, taking Boston into the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 seasons, WFXT-TV reported. He led the Celtics to a 51-31 regular-season record in 2021-22 and was a two-time winner of Eastern Conference coach of the month awards.

The Celtics open training camp on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

Udoka, in a statement published by ESPN, apologized but did not offer any specifics.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”

Before coaching the Celtics, Udoka was an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21.

He joined the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff in 2012 and served as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2019-2020 season, The Washington Post reported.

Udoka also served as a USA Basketball assistant under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He played seven seasons in the NBA from 2002 to 2011 for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, the Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings. Udoka also played professionally in Spain.

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