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Report: Ime Udoka Finalizing Contract to Replace Brad Stevens as Celtics HC

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 01:  Assistant Coach Ime Udoka of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on June 01, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics appear to have their new head coach. 

The team is "finalizing an agreement" to hire Ime Udoka, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, with the former Brooklyn Nets assistant poised to step into the position vacated by Brad Stevens earlier this month.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Udoka separated himself quickly in Brad Stevens' search process, including significant support from Celtics players who were impressed with Udoka after working under him with Team USA in the World's. https://t.co/87p0Q02tkS

Udoka has spent the last nine years as an NBA assistant, seven under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio before one-season stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Nets.

Wojnarowski reported Udoka's experience as an assistant coach was something Stevens valued.

The 43-year-old has long been considered an up-and-coming coach in the NBA, and he has worked with many talented playoff rosters. The native of Portland, Oregon, was part of the Spurs' 2014 NBA championship staff.

It's been a time of upheaval for the Celtics. Longtime president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stepped down, and Stevens left the role of head coach to replace Ainge. 

That followed a disappointing 36-36 season that ended as the Nets knocked the Celtics out of the first round of the playoffs in five games. However, Jaylen Brown was injured late in the season and didn't appear in the postseason.

A team with Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker was expected to play above .500 basketball. Injuries did hamper the C's during the season, but it became obvious that significant changes were needed.

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Udoka's hiring will be one of them. Roster adjustments will be expected as well, with Tatum and Brown the core Boston will be expected to build around. Stevens will have his work cut out for him, but his first major decision has been made.

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