The Boston Celtics have suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season, citing “violations of team policies”. The suspension is immediate, the team said when announcing the move Thursday night.
The team did not provide details of the allegations against Udoka, or its findings. But rumors had swirled over Udoka’s future after reports surfaced that he was involved in “an inappropriate intimate and consensual relationship with a female team staff member”, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.
News of the suspension came just 10 days before the Celtics opened their preseason in early October. It derails Udoka’s bid to repeat his outstanding first year as Boston head coach, when he led the team to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
“I want to apologize to our players, our fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said, in a statement shared by ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “I’m 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.”
It’s unclear if Udoka can return to Celtics training after the suspension. The organization says it will make a decision on this “at a later date”.
Udoka, 45, took over as Celtics coach in the summer of 2021 after spending much of the previous decade in assistant coaching positions with the San Antonio Spurs and two other NBA teams.