It’s finally time for a new beginning for Ime Udoka.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed the news Monday, adding that the Rockets did their due diligence concerning the details that led to Udoka being relieved of his head coaching duties in Boston.
“The Rockets probed the circumstances around Udoka’s Celtics departure with the team and league office, sources said. Udoka – who led the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals in his only season as head coach – was dismissed after findings of an inappropriate workplace relationship,” Woj tweeted.
Udoka’s new Houston gig marks his return to the NBA after an initial season-long suspension by the Celtics for “violations of team policy.” Udoka had an affair with a fellow Celtics staffer, but there were allegedly instances where his advances weren’t consensual, which is when he was punished.
After the suspension, Udoka apologized and understood the repercussions of his actions.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” he said. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision.”
Celtics brass moved on to Joe Mazzulla as the interim head coach, and he became the official head coach during the season as the Celtics are poised to wrap up a gentleman’s sweep of the Atlanta Hawks this week and move on to the second round of the playoffs.
Udoka was previously in a longtime relationship with Nia Long, they share a son, but after the affair, the two ended things. She revealed to the Hollywood Reporter that one of the toughest aspects of the very public situation was the response she got from the NBA franchise.
“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” says Long, recognizing how tough it was for their son, Kez. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”
See how Twitter’s reacting to Ime Udoka being named the Rockets’ new coach below.
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