By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The decision is final. Ime Udoka will not call the shots for the Boston Celtics the entire 2022-2023 NBA season.
After reports surfaced that Boston’s head coach violated the organization’s code of conduct due to an “improper intimate and consensual relationship” with a female employee, the Celtics organization decided to suspend Udoka for one full season.
The Boston Celtics immediately released a team statement hours after the issue made noise on social media and specified that Udoka’s suspension will take effect immediately.
“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” Boston wrote in their statement.
Udoka’s absence for one full season will be a huge blow to the Boston franchise after leading the team to a surprising NBA finals appearance after dethroning the NBA champs Milwaukee Bucks in the semifinals and escaped the Miami Heat in seven games during the Eastern Conference finals.
Despite losing at the hands of the more experienced Golden State Warriors led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, it was still an impressive season for the Celtics.
During the first 47 games last season, Boston was struggling to find its form and tallied a disappointing 23-24 win-loss record.
However, Udoka and the rest of the Celtics led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown flipped the switch in their last 35 games, losing only seven games while clinching the East’s second seed with a 51-31 record.
Udoka transformed the Celtics into a defensive beast during the second half of the season and changed their philosophy in playing basketball.
The Celtics became the league’s no. 1 defensive team with a 105.2 rating during the last 46 games played in the NBA and were also the top half-court defending team with a 90.0 rating.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment,” Udoka said in a statement released by ESPN.