Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing disciplinary action that is expected to include a significant suspension for his role in the settlement and his relationship with a female member of the franchise’s staff, sources told ESPN on Wednesday night.
The contact was deemed to be in breach of the organisation’s guidelines and a decision on the duration of the ban will be made as early as Thursday, sources said. While no final decision has been made, internal discussions have included a clause that could see Udokan out for the entire 2022-23 season, sources said.
Udoka’s job is not believed to be in danger, sources said.
Udoka’s top assistant coach, Will Hardy, has left to become the Utah Jazz coach, and sources told ESPN that Celtics assistant Joe Mazzula, another Jazz Finals contender, is being considered for the interim role.
Udoka joined the Celtics last summer after spending his NBA playing career as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.
Udoka replaces Brad Stevens as coach. Stevens moved up to become Boston’s president of basketball operations after his predecessor in that job, Danny Ainge, opted to leave the organization.
Udoka oversaw a remarkable turnaround in Boston in his first season as coach, as the Celtics went from being below .500 in late January to going 28-7 in their final 35 games to close out the season. They then scripted an impressive run through the Eastern Conference playoffs, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years.
Udoka is the fifth coach in the past 25 years to reach the NBA Finals in his first season as a head coach, and the first since Nick Nurse in 2019.
He became the first rookie coach to win multiple Game 7s in his first season, according to ESPN Stats and Information Research. Udoka Boston defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games.Boston lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
ESPN NBA writer Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.