Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka will face a “significant financial penalty” in addition to a one-year suspension for “multiple violations” of the Celtics’ code of conduct, the team’s majority owner Vic Grusbeck confirmed.
Grusbeck and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens faced the media after suspending their head coach for the entire 2022-2023 season.
Udoka’s forced leave of absence runs until June 30, 2023, and a decision on his future as head coach will be made at a later date.
“We’re not going to talk about the long term because nothing has been decided,” Grusbeck said.
The Celtics owner did not specify whether Udoka’s absence would be without pay, saying only that there would be a “significant financial penalty when you add it all up.”
however, Scott Cacciola The New York Times reports that Udoka will be “unpaid” throughout the suspension.
The second-year coach who led the C’s to the NBA Finals in his debut season is believed to have had an affair with a female member of the Celtics organization.
Stevens explained that the Celtics have a responsibility to take care of the women in their organization in the wake of the saga, amid a wave of “rampant bulls***.”
“We have a lot of talented women in our organization and I thought yesterday was very difficult for them,” Stevens said of the rumors and innuendo surrounding Udoka and the parties potentially involved.
Brad Stevens faced the press with Celtics majority owner Vic Grousbeck on Friday
“Nobody can control the speculation on Twitter and the rampant bulls***, but I think we have a responsibility to make sure we’re there to support them.”
With the many names thrown at the situation on social media, Grusbeck made it clear that only Udoka “faces punishment or reprimand”.
According to Grusbek, the organization’s players are “very concerned” about the situation and the accusations against Udoka.
“We think our culture is very strong,” he added. “We are very proud of it. But it faltered. I don’t think there’s a bigger problem than the one we’ve spent months uncovering.”
Joe Mazzula, who has been a Boston assistant since 2019, will be the team’s interim head coach.
Celtics majority owner Vic Grousbeck lashed out at his head coach, reflecting on NBA shock incidents
Stevens, who was previously the head coach of the Celtics, praised Mazzula and explained what he would bring to an undoubtedly talented roster.
“He is an exceptionally perceptive and talented person,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in him and his ability to lead people, energize the room and keep him going.
“And his ability to organize and understand everything that goes into running a team throughout the season.”
In 2009, Mazulla was arrested for domestic battery, and in 2008 he was charged with fighting with police and underage drinking.
When asked about the battery arrest, Stevens acknowledged that Mazzula, 34, was vetted before being hired in 2019.
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka will be suspended for the entire 2022-2023 season.
Before coming to Boston, Udoka won a ring as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs
“I’m a firm believer that it shaped him very well into who he is today,” Stevens said of the team’s interim head coach.
I firmly believe in his essentiality as a person. He was very open with me about how these incidents affected him.
“He will be the first to tell you that he is 110% responsible for it. I’ll be the first to tell you that I believe in him.”
Boston fell two wins short of winning the NBA championship last season with Udok.
Now they’re faced with a completely unprecedented set of circumstances, just a few weeks before their regular season opener against Philadelphia on Oct. 18.
Udoka led a young and talented Celtics team to the Eastern Conference title in 2021-22.
The situation is puzzling not only because Boston is firing a coach who led the team to the NBA Finals in his first season, but also because the Celtics turned a supposedly private and reportedly consensual relationship into a public affair.
The Athletic raised questions about the relationship Thursday night, reporting that a woman accused Udoka of making “unsolicited comments” toward her, prompting the Celtics to begin internal interviews that ultimately led to his suspension.
Despite a six-game NBA Finals loss to the Warriors, Udoka’s stock couldn’t have been higher in the offseason.
Udoka was engaged to actress Nia Long (left), who gave birth to the couple’s son in 2011
Udoka’s top assistant, Will Hardy (right), has left Boston to become the head coach of the Utah Jazz, leaving former Celtics assistant Joe Mazzula (left) as Boston’s replacement head coach.
Now his reputation, like the situation itself, is murky with an uncertain future.
In a statement released Thursday night, Udoka apologized to the players, fans and team for “putting the team in a difficult situation.”
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement. “I’m sorry to have put the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for all involved, I will not comment further.”