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Ime Udoka apologizes for putting Celtics in 'difficult situation,' accepts year-long suspension

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 1 day ago Mike Santa Barbara, Yardbarker
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka © Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images Celtics head coach Ime Udoka

Less than 24 hours after a report emerged that Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was facing a "significant suspension" for engaging in an inappropriate consensual relationship with a female staff member, the team has responded. 

On Thursday night, the Celtics officially suspended Udoka for the 2022-2023 season for "violations of team policies." Shortly after the announcement, Udoka released a statement via ESPN's Malika Andrews. 

"I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down," Udoka's statement read. "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."

Udoka's suspension is effective immediately. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have tabbed assistant Joe Mazzulla as the team's interim head coach. 

The 45-year-old has been in a relationship with actress Nia Long for over a decade. The pair are engaged and have one son together. 

Before being hired by the Celtics, Udoka spent nine seasons in the NBA as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets. 

Ahead of the 2021-2022 season, the Celtics made Udoka the 18th head coach in the organization's history, replacing Brad Stevens, who took over as head of basketball operations. 

In his first season leading Boston, the Celtics finished 51-31, reaching the NBA Finals, where they fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games. 

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