The Boston Celtics have decided to cut ties with the team’s former head coach Ime Udoka.
According to Sports Illustrated, the team recruited Joe Mazzulla as the full-time head coach after making him the interim head coach following Udoka’s scandalous affair airing to the public.
Joe Mazzulla is officially the 19th Head Coach in franchise history 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 pic.twitter.com/LMcTLS1u0m
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 16, 2023
“One of the things that’s pretty obvious and evident about Joe is he’s a really good coach and he’s also just an outstanding leader,” Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens said. “I think he’s done a great job, right from the get-go of, galvanizing a locker room around a mission.”
Stevens added, “I give him a lot of credit, I give our players a lot of credit, and I give the staff a lot of credit. And, as far as the timing of it … they’ve obviously done a great job, they’ve put themselves in a position to compete for the things we want to ultimately compete for thus far.”
Celtics initially suspended Udoka in September 2022 after word got out that he had an affair with a female subordinate amid his marriage to longtime actress Nia Long. Long has opened up about how difficult the situation was but said she was focused mainly on her children and their wellbeing. A source close to the actress confirmed that the two had decided to split up and concentrate on co-parenting.
In the middle of their breakup, the Celtics were figuring out how to handle the mess Udoka and the female employee made. Additionally, according to News Onyx, the Brooklyn Nets were looking to employ Udoka as their head coach, and a deal was nearly finalized before the Nets turned around and named Jacque Vaughn as their head coach.
Mazzulla, as the Celtics’ head coach, makes the 45-year-old unemployed.
Ime Udoka is no longer employed in any capacity by the Celtics, I’m told. https://t.co/B5gtMgBI1b
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) February 16, 2023
According to the Eastern Conference rankings for the 2022-2023 season, the Celtics made the right choice for coaching, sitting at the number one spot.