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Brad Stevens 'Absolutely' Won't Coach Celtics This Year After Ime Udoka Suspension

Adam WellsSeptember 23, 2022

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

While there is currently no long-term answer at head coach for the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens has ruled out returning to the bench for the 2022-23 season.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Stevens said "absolutely not" when asked about the possibility of serving as Celtics head coach.

The Celtics announced on Thursday that Ime Udoka has been suspended for the entire 2022-23 season for violations of team policies and a decision about his future "will be made at a later date."

Joe Mazzulla, who has been an assistant coach for the Celtics since 2019, will serve as interim head coach.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Udoka's punishment stems from "an intimate relationship with a female member of the organization" that some within the Celtics became aware of in July.

"At that time, team leadership was led to believe by both parties that the relationship was consensual," wrote Charania. "But sources said that the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her—leading the team to launch a set of internal interviews."

According to Charania, Udoka's suspension was decided after a meeting between Celtics governors and Stevens that lasted "several hours."

In a statement to ESPN's Malika Andrews, Udoka apologized to Celtics players, fans, the organization and his family for "letting them down." He also said he accepted the team's decision and would have no further comment on the matter.

Udoka spent nine seasons as an assistant coach before being hired as Celtics head coach. He previously worked for the San Antonio Spurs (2012-19), Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) and Brooklyn Nets (2020-21).

Boston overcame a slow start last season to finish as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record. The team defeated the Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

The Celtics lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the Finals.

Udoka was hired by Boston after Stevens moved into the front office as the team's president of basketball operations. The 45-year-old Stevens went 354-282 with seven playoff appearances in eight seasons as Celtics head coach.

This will mark the first head-coaching job in the NBA for Mazzulla. He went 43-17 in two seasons at Fairmont State from 2017-19.

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