New details have emerged regarding head coach Ime Udoka‘s suspension from the Celtics for the entire 2022/23 season. Sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the independent law firm that investigated Udoka listed “the power dynamic associated with a superior’s improper relationship with a staff member” to be the main policy violation.
In addition, the report from the investigation found that Udoka used “crude language” toward a female subordinate before beginning an improper workplace relationship with the same employee, which played a significant factor in the suspension’s severity, Wojnarowski writes. The language Udoka used “was deemed especially concerning coming from a workplace superior,” according to Wojnarowski, who adds that Udoka is likely facing a “difficult pathway” to reinstatement for the 2023/24 season.
Sources tell Wojnarowski that Boston would allow Udoka to pursue other coaching opportunities if he becomes a candidate in the future. Rival teams have been trying to gather information to get a better picture of what led to the suspension “in preparation for possibly evaluating him” for coaching jobs, Woj adds.
Owner Wyc Grousbeck previously stated the report uncovered “a volume of violations” and Udoka would face “a significant financial penalty” as part of the suspension.
“This felt right, but there’s no clear guidelines for any of this,” Grousbeck responded when asked whether Udoka should have been dismissed. “This is really a conscious, gut feel and being here 20 years.”
After a rocky start to the ’21/22 season, Udoka’s first as a head coach, he led a dramatic turnaround that saw Boston reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, ultimately falling to the Warriors in six games. Joe Mazzulla was named interim head coach in place of Udoka.