Embattled Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has continued to find himself at the forefront of NBA headlines as of late. The coach, who was in a public relationship with Nia Long, is currently suspended for what the franchise deemed an improper relationship with a female staff member.
Initially, it seemed as though Udoka and the unnamed staff member were engaged in a consensual relationship. This fueled speculation as to why the franchise would suspend a coach who had been instrumental to the team's finals run. If the relationship was consensual on both sides, why was the Celtics brass involved?
Reports then surfaced revealing that the relationship wasn't consensual. According to the unnamed woman, Udoka made unwanted comments and advances toward her. As a result, the Celtics franchise suspended him for the entirety of the 2022-23 season. During a recent interview, Udoka's wife, Nia Long, spoke about the groundbreaking news, and the fallout from it:
“I went home to be with my son, and that was what was most important to me, because he was not having an easy time. I literally felt like my heart had jumped out of my body. And then what I found was this tribe of women and men who were standing up for me in a way that felt like I was in this bubble of protection, and that was very comforting.”
The comments came during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Fallout from Ime Udoka cheating, suspension and return to coaching
Despite the fact that Udoka is currently suspended by the Celtics, the embattled coach nearly found his way around a year-long suspension. After the Brooklyn Nets parted ways with coach Steve Nash on Nov. 1, reports emergeed that Udoka was the favorite to replace him.
The entire situation generated even more controversy around the two-time Coach of the Month. The way many saw it, Udoka shouldn't be allowed to take a head coaching position for another team while actively serving a suspension. But others felt as though he should be free to resign from his role with the Boston Celtics and coach wherever he desires.
Of course, the Brooklyn Nets have been entrenched in their own fair share of controversy this season as well. Early on in the year, Ben Simmons struggled with his production while attempting to make a comeback from sitting out last season. At the same time, Kyrie Irving was going through a wild saga of his own stemming from a controversial antisemitic video he posted on social media
Considering how much controversy had been following the Nets up to that point, Udoka's presence could have resulted in things spilling over. Whether that played any part in their decision to promote Jacque Vaughn from interim status or not, we may never know.
This season, despite Udoka's absence, the Boston Celtics (18-4) have led the way in the Eastern Conference, posting the NBA's best record. Although they may be without its head coach, the team has done a great job of continuing without missing a beat.
Below, you can see recent highlights from their 134-121 win over the Miami Heat, where Jayson Tatum scored a season-high 49 points, on Wednesday.