The Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka for the upcoming season after a month’s-long investigation by an external law firm that found multiple violations of team policies, team governor Wyc Grousbeck said Friday.
Grousbeck would not comment on specifics. A person with knowledge of the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the details were not made public, told The Associated Press on Thursday that it involved an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the organization.
Grousbeck said no one else from the organization is facing punishment. He would not say whether the suspension was unpaid but confirmed that it comes with a “significant financial penalty.”
"It's unfortunate also that female staff members of the Celtics have been dragged into the public eye unwillingly."— The Recount (@therecount) September 23, 2022
— Celtics Governor Wyc Grousbeck reacts to women staffers being harassed due to Ime Udoka's suspension pic.twitter.com/mRg2xHvCKz
The suspension runs through June 30, 2023, and assistant Joe Mazzulla will lead the team as interim coach for the season.
In a statement released by the coach, Udoka apologized “to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down.”
“I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision,” he said. “Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
NEW: Statement from Celtics coach Ime Udoka pic.twitter.com/MFutFx7c3l— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 23, 2022
In his first NBA head coaching job, Udoka led Boston to a 51-31 record last season — going 26-6 in the final 32 games. The Celtics beat Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Miami on the way to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
The developments stunned the NBA and shook up a team that had been among the favorites to contend for a championship this season.
At the moment, it is not clear if the erring coach and the Celtics organization will be as eager to reunite at the end of the suspension.
Celtics governor Wyc Grousbeck says Ime Udoka's future with the Boston Celtics will be re-evaluated following his suspension, which lasts through June 30, 2023. pic.twitter.com/Wtj0dvXfJB— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 23, 2022