Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart won't be happy to see Ime Udoka coaching the Brooklyn Nets.
Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for one year as a result of an improper workplace relationship with a female subordinate, but he is now "likely" to take over as coach of the Nets, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
"His name got slandered and slaughtered and it was 'He’ll probably never coach again,'" Smart said of Udoka Wednesday, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. "And a couple of months later, now he's possibly going to be the coach of one of our biggest rivals?"
"It's tough. It makes no sense," Smart added. "But we can’t control that. We have to control what we can, and I love the team here. I love the coaching staff. I love Joe."
Joe Mazzulla has served as the Celtics' interim coach this season and has guided the team to a 4-2 record.
The Celtics provided little information about the circumstances that led to Udoka's suspension, but Wojnarowski reported in late September that the coach likely had "a difficult pathway back to his reinstatement" after an independent probe from a law firm found "he used crude language in his dialogue with a female subordinate prior to the start of an improper workplace relationship with the woman."
NBA insider Ethan Strauss reported an NBA agent believed the coach was "done" in the league.
It creates significant question marks for the Nets if they hire Udoka.
"Obviously, we wish he was here," Smart said. "We have no control over that. It definitely sucks. I guess it was deemed that whatever happened was enough for him not to be the coach here, but I guess not enough for him [not] to be a coach anywhere else, obviously."
The Nets are seeking a new head coach after firing Steve Nash following a 2-5 start to the 2022-23 season. Jacque Vaughn served as acting coach for Tuesday's loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Udoka led the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals in his first year with the organization after serving as an assistant coach with the Nets in 2020-21.