Just months removed from leading the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals, head coach Ime Udoka has been suspended for the entirety of the 2022-23 NBA season.
Udoka's suspension stems from an “inappropriate, intimate relationship” with a Celtics female staffer. His relationship was in violation of the Celtics’ code of conduct. The organization made it clear that the relationship between Udoka and the staffer, who has yet to be identified, was consensual.
It's been reported that the Celtics organization became aware of the relationship in July. The team elected to launch internal interviews after the woman accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens addressed the situation with the media on Friday. The former head coach got emotional while discussing what he called "bullsh-t" rumors circulating about the situation.
Brad Stevens Tears Up Talking About The Women In The Celtics Organization
"It's been a hard time," Stevens said. "We have a lot of talented women in our organization, and I thought yesterday was really hard on them. Nobody can control Twitter speculation, bullsh-t, but I do think we as an organization have a responsibility to support them now. A lot of people were dragged, unfairly, into that."
As the news broke about Udoka's inner-office relationship, he was quickly linked to Allison Feaster, the director of player development for the Celtics. Multiple sources have shot down those rumors.
Following news of his suspension, Udoka released a statement apologizing to the organization and others.
Udoka responded to the ban in a statement relayed by ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” the coach 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.”
The Udoka-less Celtics begin the 2022-23 NBA season against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 18. The team appointed Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla as interim coach.