“He might become a candidate, or a coach of interest, in other jobs that become open during the season, or certainly next season,” Wojnarowski said. “The final chapter in (Udoka’s) coaching career has not been written.”
The Celtics suspended Udoka for the year for what reportedly was deemed an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. Details beyond that are sketchy, though The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the woman has claimed Udoka made unwanted comments toward her.
“It could be the end in Boston, but this is a coach who made an incredible impression on people … and I think that Udoka is going to be a candidate elsewhere, and maybe as soon as this 2022-23 season,” Wojnarowski added.
The decision to suspend Udoka for the entire season came Thursday, after a “closed-door meeting” that included team owners and head of basketball operations Brad Stevens, after which Stevens met with the players, Charania reported.
The Celtics released a statement saying that Udoka’s future beyond this season “will be made at a later date.”
Udoka was apologetic in a prepared statement of his own.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “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.”
Assistant Joe Mazzulla will serve as interim head coach in Udoka’s absence. There will also be an available assistant slot, though no word yet on if the Celtics intend to fill it. As we relayed earlier, former Lakers coach Frank Vogel is one name making the rounds as a possibility.
Per Chris Haynes of TNT, Udoka has no intention of resigning.
Udoka arrived in Boston last summer after one season as an assistant under Steve Nash with the Nets. He served as an assistant with the 76ers in 2019-20, and for seven years under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs before that.
Prior to his coaching career, Udoka was a small forward with the Lakers in 2004, then spent time with the Knicks, Trail Blazers, Spurs and Kings from 2006-11. He also played professionally overseas.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Udoka “became the first rookie coach to win multiple Game 7s in his first postseason,” Wojnarowski wrote.