Joe Mazzulla has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight as the Celtics’ interim coach after Ime Udoka was suspended this season for violating team policy. Guard Marcus Smart believes Mazzulla, who has been a Celtics assistant since 2019, can handle the job, Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com writes.
“It would’ve been different if we had somebody new that we didn’t know and were trying to build that connection with,” Smart said. “Joe has been here. He knows the scheme, he knows the players, so it makes it a little bit more easier to adjust to a guy that’s been here and knows you.”
We have more on the Celtics as they prepare for another run at the championship:
- Smart admits the players were blindsided by Udoka’s suspension right before camp started, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. “Nobody really knows anything,” Smart said. “We’re just in the wind, like everybody else. The last couple of days have been confusing.” Jayson Tatum says he doesn’t know all the details that led to the suspension, Mannix adds in another tweet. “Apparently there are a lot of things they can’t speak about. I’m kind of in the same boat,” he said. “I don’t know. It’s hard for me to answer if things were handled in the right way or they weren’t.”
- Jaylen Brown also expressed confusion over why Udoka was handed such a severe penalty by the organization, Weiss adds in a separate tweet. “I wish we had more details,” he said. “From what we know, it’s hard to make a decision based on whether it’s consensual or not in the workplace, which we know has happened before in the workplace. It looks like there is more to it than what meets the eye.”
- Generally, the players are frustrated they don’t have more information on Udoka’s situation, though legally the team may have to withhold certain information, Mannix notes (Twitter link).
- Brown tried to downplay questions regarding the Kevin Durant trade rumors over the summer, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. Brown was the most prominent player mentioned among the discussions Boston had with Brooklyn. “I think it’s been the same since I’ve been here. It wasn’t surprising or not surprising, to make me feel some type of way,” he said. “It just is what it is. I talked to my teammates and the organization about it and now it’s just time to play basketball.”
- Al Horford missed 13 regular season games last season as the Celtics chose to ease the workload on the now 36-year-old big man. Horford said he prepared this offseason to handle an increased workload and play back-to-backs this season, according to Weiss (Twitter link).
- Malcolm Brogdon was presented with a few different trade options by the Pacers and told them he wanted to be dealt to Boston “because I want to win,” Bontemps tweets.