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Woj: Celtics 'Won't Stand in' Ime Udoka's Way Should He Pursue New HC Job

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 30, 2022

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 16: Head Coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics looks on during Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals on June 16, 2022 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics won't stand in Ime Udoka's path if the suspended head coach gets a chance to seek employment elsewhere.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news Friday:

"At a news conference last week, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck said the suspensionwhich extends through June 30, 2023was a product of multiple violations of team policies, and sources told ESPN the Celtics won't stand in Udoka's way should he have the chance to become a coaching candidate elsewhere. There are teams that have tried to gather a preliminary understanding of the full explanation for Udoka's suspension in preparation for possibly evaluating him for future coaching employment, sources told ESPN."

Wojnarowski reported on Sept. 21 that the suspension resulted from his role in an "intimate relationship with a female member of the franchise's staff."

Udoka joined the Celtics last year after nine seasons as an NBA assistant. He led Boston to an Eastern Conference title, its first since 2010.

Wojnarowski previously reported on other teams' potential interest in Udoka (h/t ClutchPoints).

"In talking to some other organizations today, 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," Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter on Sept. 22.

Udoka does not plan to resign from the Celtics amid the suspension, per NBA insider Chris B. Haynes. He has since apologized for "putting the team in this difficult situation" and has accepted the suspension.

There's speculation and insight that Udoka has coached his last game with the Celtics. Of note, Brian Robb of MassLive reported on that front in a recent mailbag.

"At this point, I’d be pretty shocked if he did," Robb said in response to a question regarding whether he thought Udoka would coach the Celtics again. "Time will ultimately tell the tale on this front but wouldn’t surprise me to see the two sides eventually reach some sort of buyout of Udoka’s contract. Leaving a suspension open-ended after one season speaks volumes in my mind that there is far from a guarantee that he would ever be welcomed back."

In the meantime, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will step in as the team's interim head coach. The 34-year-old, who starred for West Virginia as a guard en route to a 2010 Final Four berth, has worked as an assistant with Boston since 2019.

The C's open the season on Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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