It’s official: Ime Udoka is the head coach of the Rockets, as the team revealed in a press release on Tuesday.
“We are excited to welcome Ime to the Houston Rockets,” GM Rafael Stone said. “Ime’s intelligence, drive and toughness were the traits we were looking for in a coach to lead our team through this next stage of our development as we strive to become a champion.
“We were honored to have the opportunity to speak to multiple outstanding candidates throughout the interview process and felt that Ime’s vision best aligned with the goals the Fertitta Family and myself have for the future of the Rockets.”
What might Udoka offer the Rockets? We have more on that right here.
Udoka will replace Stephen Silas, who was let go at the end of the season after three years on the job.
In his lone season as head coach, Udoka guided Boston to a Finals appearance, losing to the Warriors in six games. He was then suspended just prior to the season for what the Celtics called an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.
The Rockets may or may not hold a press conference, though at some point, they will have to answer questions about the controversial nature of Udoka’s end in Boston.
The Celtics finished 51-31 in their lone season under Udoka, who had previously worked as an assistant under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs and Steve Nash with the Nets. Nash was fired earlier this season, and Udoka was reportedly a prime candidate to land the job in Brooklyn.
The Nets, however, ultimately decided against it.
The Rockets finished 17-65 and are in prime position to land a top-three pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, depending on the results of the May 16 lottery.
Former Lakers coach Frank Vogel, current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and 76ers assistant Sam Cassell were among the others linked to the Houston vacancy.