Ime Udoka reportedly could become a "coach of interest" for other NBA teams after he received a full-season suspension from the Boston Celtics for violations of team policies on Thursday following reports of an intimate relationship with a female staffer.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on SportsCenter the lack of certainty in the Celtics' statement about Udoka's future with the organization, which only said his status would be determined "at a later date," could lead the coach elsewhere if another opportunity arises.
"He may become a candidate or a coach of interest for other jobs that might open or might become open during the season or certainly next season," Woj said (50-second mark of video). "The final chapter of Udoka's coaching career has not been written. This is not going to be a death knell for him."
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported some people in the Celtics organization were made aware of Udoka's relationship with the unnamed staff member in July and were told it was consensual, but the woman more recently came forward to accuse the team's head coach of making "unwanted comments toward her."
Boston held a series of internal interviews before the decision to suspend Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season was made Thursday during a meeting of key franchise executives, including team ownership and president Brad Stevens, per Charania.
Udoka issued a statement to ESPN's Malika Andrews after the suspension was announced.
"I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down," he 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."
Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over the staff on an interim basis, per Wojnarowski.
Udoka was hired by the Celtics in June 2021 after Stevens vacated the head coaching position to accept a role in the front office.
The 45-year-old Portland native started his coaching career as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs in 2012 after a 13-year playing career that included seven seasons in the NBA. He also spent time on the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets coaching staffs.
Udoka enjoyed a highly successful first season in Boston. He guided the team to an appearance in the 2022 NBA Finals, where it fell short against the Golden State Warriors, after posting a 51-31 record during the regular season.
He remains under contract with the Celtics amid the suspension, so the organization with have to clear him to interview with other teams if another front office expresses interest.
Boston tips off the new campaign Oct. 18 when it hosts the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden,