Report: Ime Udoka not stepping down, still awaiting word on suspension

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Despite recent controversy over an “improper” relationship with a female employee, Ime Udoka will not be resigning from the Celtics, according to TNT insider Chris Haynes.

Chris Mannix, who covers the Celtics for NBC Sports Boston, reported earlier Udoka had “considered” stepping down, though instead he’ll stay on as coach, awaiting word on what is anticipated to be a lengthy suspension, perhaps spanning the entire 2022-23 season.

Joe Mazzulla is expected to serve as interim coach with Brad Stevens, who coached the Celtics from 2013-21, maintaining his role as President of Basketball Operations. Udoka’s previous top assistant, Will Hardy, was recently poached by Utah, replacing Quin Snyder as head coach earlier this offseason.

Many have been frustrated by the Celtics’ lack of transparency (they’ve yet to address the matter in any official capacity), holding the team responsible for some of the more salacious rumors being spread on social media, mostly at the expense of female staffers who have had their names dragged through the mud for much of the past 24 hours.

It’s an unfortunate setback for a team that, until news broke of Udoka’s rumored infidelity (he shares two children with longtime partner, actress Nia Long), looked like the favorite to win it all. Led by All-Stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, the Celtics represented the Eastern Conference in the 2022 Finals, where they were ultimately thwarted by the Warriors in their quest for an 18th world title. Udoka, who enjoyed stints with the Kings, Lakers, Knicks, Spurs and his hometown Blazers over a seven-year playing career, spent nine seasons as an assistant in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Brooklyn before landing his dream job with the Celtics last summer.

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