Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka facing disciplinary action for relationship with member of franchise’s staff


Sources told ESPN Wednesday night that the Boston Celtics coach is facing disciplinary action that is expected to include a major suspension for his role in a consensual intimate relationship with a woman who is a member of the franchise crew.

The sources said that the relationship was considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines, and a decision on the duration of the suspension is expected to be issued on Thursday. The sources said that although no final decision had been made, internal discussions included scenarios that would keep Odoka out of the entire 2022-23 season.

Sources said he did not believe Odoka’s job was in jeopardy.

Odoka’s assistant coach Will Hardy has left to become the head coach of the Utah Jazz, sources told ESPN, and one of the Jazz finalists, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzola, is likely in serious consideration to take on an interim role.

Odoka joined the Celtics last summer after spending time with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets as an assistant coach after his NBA career.

Odoka replaced Brad Stevens as coach. Stevens went upstairs to be Boston’s chief of basketball operations after his predecessor in the position, Danny Inge, chose to leave the organization.

In his first season as coach, Odoka oversaw a remarkable turnaround in Boston, which saw the Celtics turn from under 0.500 in late January to finish the season with a record 28-7 in their last 35 games. They then composed an impressive run through the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years.

Odoka is the fifth coach in the past 25 years to reach the NBA Finals in his first season as a coach, and the first since Nick Nurse in 2019.

He also, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, became the first junior coach to win multiple Game 7s in his first season. Odoka led the Boston team to victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the Miami Heat finals in seven games before losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals.

ESPN NBA writer Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.


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