Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is likely to receive a season-long suspension for having a relationship with another member of the organization, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski reported assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to serve as interim head coach for the 2022-23 NBA season.
Wojnarowski first reported late Wednesday night that Udoka committed an "unspecified violation of organizational guidelines" that potentially warranted a significant punishment. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium followed up to report the issue was "an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff."
Udoka is approaching his second year as Boston's head coach. He helped guide the Celtics to a 51-31 record and an NBA Finals appearance in 2021-22, which raised expectations significantly for the upcoming campaign.
The reigning Eastern Conference champions are the betting favorites (+550) at FanDuel to win the 2023 NBA Finals.
Inserting Mazzulla into the interim role would at least help to maintain continuity. The 34-year-old was an assistant for the Maine Red Claws, Boston's NBA G League affiliate, in 2016-17, and he joined the Celtics coaching staff in 2019-20.
Mazzulla already received a promotion this offseason after Will Hardy left to become the Utah Jazz's head coach and took fellow Celtics assistant Evan Bradds with him.
Having appeared to be on a trajectory toward landing a head coaching gig down the line, Mazzulla will now have quite the audition in Boston.
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