The Hawks are beginning what is believed to be a wide-ranging search for their next coach, and have former Celtics coach Ime Udoka on their radar, per Marc Stein of The Stein Line.
Udoka, of course, was suspended by the Celtics before the season for what the team called an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member. He is no longer with the organization, as the Celtics have hired Joe Mazzulla as full-time coach.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are on the lookout for a replacement for Nate McMillan, fired earlier this week. GM Landry Fields mentioned ex-Jazz coach Quin Snyder as one possibility.
For now, Joe Prunty will coach the Hawks on an interim basis. But it appears Udoka is indeed on their radar, too.
Udoka, 45, led the Celtics to a 51-31 record and a trip to the Finals in his first year as a head coach last season. He has received high praise from guard/forward Jayson Tatum and other members of the Celtics.
“Whatever happened, happened and that didn’t have anything to do with me. But that can’t take away the relationship that we have and the impact that he had on me for that one reason,” Tatum said at All-Star Weekend, via Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
“I love Coach K (Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski). I love (Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens). I love Joe. I love all those guys. It was just a different kind of relationship I had with Ime. Probably the most favorite coach I’ve had and that’s not a knock on anybody.”
Celtics wing Jaylen Brown added he is rooting for Udoka.
“I want to see Ime back on his feet,” Brown said, via Washburn. “Obviously it won’t be in a Boston uniform. I want to see all partners win. I think the Celtics are doing fine. I would like to see Ime do fine.”
Prior to joining the Celtics, Udoka was an assistant with the Nets for a season, and an assistant for the 76ers a season before that.
He began as an assistant under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs, a position Udoka held for seven years (2012-19).
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