Nets to Hire Celtics’ Ime Udoka as Next Coach

The Nets intend to hire Ime Udoka as their next head coach, replacing the fired Steve Nash in the process, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.Ime Udoka

Udoka, 45, led the Celtics to the Finals last season in his first year as a head coach anywhere. But he was suspended for this season for what the team referred to as an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported earlier that Udoka was a candidate for the Nets’ vacancy and the Celtics would allow him to interview and leave if the job were offered. Charania eventually reported the same.

Udoka spent one season as an assistant under Nash with the Nets before leaving for the Celtics in the summer of 2021. He served as an assistant with the 76ers in 2019-20, and for seven years under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs before that.

Udoka was apologetic about his suspension in a prepared statement prior to the season.

“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.”

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.

Nash, 48, a former back-to-back NBA MVP as a point guard with the Suns, compiled a 94-67 record overall in two-plus seasons with the Nets, his first job as an NBA head coach.

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