Boston Celtics caput manager Ime Udoka's longtime fiancé Nia Long was reportedly blindsided by his reported matter with a pistillate subordinate of the team's staff, resulting successful his year-long suspension, adjacent though the nine had confronted him with its probe months ago.
Long, the 51-year-old erstwhile Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, had moved to the Boston country 2 weeks agone with the couple's 10-year-old lad and had precocious been location hunting with Udoka, according to TMZ.
She reportedly was unaware of the allegations until the past fewer days, adjacent though the Celtics had been investigating the substance with Udoka's cognition for months, TMZ reports.
Now, done her spokeswoman, Long is asking for privacy.
'The outpouring of emotion and enactment from family, friends and the assemblage during this hard clip means truthful overmuch to me,' Long told TMZ done her spokeswoman. 'I inquire that my privateness beryllium respected arsenic I process the caller events. Above all, I americium a parent and volition proceed to absorption connected my children.'
Udoka, the Celtics' second-year caput manager with a once-sterling reputation, was suspended for each of the upcoming play connected Thursday implicit 'multiple' unspecified violations of squad rules. He besides suffered a "significant fiscal penalty.'
Reports accidental the 45-year-old had an improper, but consensual narration with a pistillate subordinate of the team's staff, yet that hardly explains wherefore Udoka is being sidelined for 2022-23, and perchance longer. In the squad connection naming adjunct Joe Mazzulla arsenic interim coach, Boston said Udoka's aboriginal would beryllium determined 'at a aboriginal date.'
Boston Celtics caput manager Ime Udoka's longtime fiancé Nia Long was reportedly blindsided by his reported matter with a pistillate subordinate of the team's staff, resulting successful his year-long suspension, adjacent though the nine had confronted him with its probe months ago
Udoka guided the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals successful his archetypal play arsenic the team's caput coach
The concern is puzzling, not lone due to the fact that Boston is sidelining a manager that guided the squad to the NBA Finals successful his archetypal season, but besides due to the fact that the Celtics person turned an ostensibly backstage and reportedly consensual narration into a nationalist substance – thing that ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has seized upon Friday.
'My contented is you person his idiosyncratic concern publicized each implicit the airways,' Smith said, portion questioning wherefore a suspension was necessary.
Celtics fable Paul Pierce, too, argued connected Twitter that Udoka's punishment 'should conscionable beryllium a good not a suspension.'
The Athletic raised questions astir the narration Thursday night, reporting that Udoka was accused by the pistillate of making 'unwanted comments' to her, prompting the Celtics to motorboat interior interviews that yet led to his suspension.
Further complicating matters is Udoka's murky narration with Long.
One report, from Bally Sports, claims the mates was 'separated anterior to the existent issue,' but the 2 appeared to beryllium connected bully presumption arsenic precocious arsenic May, erstwhile the erstwhile Fresh Prince of Bel-Air tweeted video of herself dancing successful solemnisation arsenic his Celtics qualified for the Finals.
Then determination was Udoka's ain connection Thursday, which made a cryptic notation to disappointing his loved ones: 'I privation to apologize to our players, fans, the full Celtics organization, and my household for letting them down.'
Boston Celtics fable Paul Pierce said the Udoka should conscionable beryllium fined and not suspended
The Celtics were acceptable to unfastened grooming campy connected Tuesday arsenic a logical favourite to scope the Finals erstwhile again, and perchance vie for an NBA-record 18th championship.
Instead, Boston is present faced with questions of leadership, portion Udoka is warring to prevention his once-promising career.
Udoka's career, until now, had been a communicative of perseverance.
He wasn't blessed with large carnal gifts, but his emotion for the crippled and 6-foot-6 framework were a beardown instauration arsenic helium grew up successful Portland, wherever helium yet befriended aboriginal NBA prima and his adjunct with the Celtics, Damon Stoudemire.
'Growing up, 1 of the things I utilized to motivate maine to get to the NBA was immoderate my peers were doing, I was going to bash the opposite,' Udoka told The Athletic successful April. 'Everybody is retired partying? Kicking it? Hanging out? I'm going to unfastened gym. I didn't spell to prom. I didn't spell to graduation. I was astatine the gym.'
He played astatine 3 colleges earlier graduating from Portland State University and yet starting his nonrecreational vocation successful the NBDL with the Charleston Lowgators.
Brief stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, French teams, and G-League teams would follow, earlier Udoka began seeing much enactment with the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers and, eventually, the San Antonio Spurs.
It was successful San Antonio, nether manager Gregg Popovich, that Udoka developed into a reliable perimeter defender.
'My happening was to ever deliberation the game,' Udoka said. 'And if you can't bash that, you out-will your much skilled hostile by being physically and mentally tougher.'
After playing concisely for Sacramento and aboriginal returning to San Antonio, Udoka received 1 of the astir coveted jobs successful coaching arsenic an adjunct to Popovich.
The 2 would triumph an NBA Title unneurotic successful 2014, and Udoka would soon travel to embody the Popovich ethos of coaching.
'He assimilated with the Pop philosophy,' an NBA enforcement told the New York Post successful 2020. 'Udoka is simply a idiosyncratic precise driven, meticulous, hard connected himself. He's a perfectionist.'
Popovich gushed astir his protégé successful 2015, telling ESPN: 'He exudes a assurance and a comfortableness successful his ain tegument wherever radical conscionable gravitate to him.'
Coach Pop besides gave Udoka a back-handed compliment by joking that he's a teetotaller.
'The lone happening I don't similar astir him is that helium doesn't drink, truthful I can't bask a solid of vino with him,' said Popovich. 'He's truly boring astatine dinner.'
Udoka rapidly became 1 of the hottest adjunct coaching prospects successful the NBA, getting prestigious gigs connected the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets' benches, earlier getting hired by erstwhile Celtics caput coach-turned-president Brad Stevens successful Boston earlier the 2021-22 season.
At the time, erstwhile Udoka workfellow Kirk Goldsberry tweeted that Boston made a 'great hire.'
Initial returns, however, weren't good.
Despite the beingness of All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston struggled for overmuch of the archetypal fractional of Udoka's archetypal play and astir .500 until January, erstwhile players began taking his lessons to bosom to decorativeness the regular season, 51-31.
'He decidedly acceptable a tone,' Celtics defender Payton Pritchard told The Athletic. 'That's Ime to a T. That's what we needed.'
The Celtics past steamrolled done the archetypal circular of the playoffs, sweeping the hated Nets successful 4 games earlier hard-fought seven-game bid victories implicit the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks and top-seeded Miami Heat.
The six-game NBA Finals nonaccomplishment to the Warriors notwithstanding, Udoka's banal couldn't person been higher entering the off-season. A young manager coming disconnected a Finals quality successful his archetypal play was apt looking astatine a important rise successful a renegotiated contract, Smith said Friday.
'That means helium was successful the presumption to get his wage tripled,' Smith said.
But for each of the positivity created by Udoka's archetypal twelvemonth arsenic Celtics caput coach, the Celtics person faced 1 obstacle aft different successful the off-season.
Free-agent acquisition Danilo Gallinari tore the ACL successful his near genu implicit the summer, and earlier this week it was revealed that starting halfway Robert Williams would request arthroscopic country to cleanable retired his near knee. Williams is expected to miss betwixt 4 and six weeks, but Gallinari could beryllium retired for importantly longer.
More pressing is the concern facing Mazzulla, a comparatively chartless quantity heading into the season.
The erstwhile caput manager astatine Division II Fairmont State, Mazzulla is simply a section guy, who hails from Rhode Island. He played collegiately nether Bob Huggins astatine West Virginia, wherever helium was erstwhile suspended for home artillery successful 2009.
Now 34, Mazzulla is being counted upon to beryllium the reply successful Boston, adjacent though he's lone slated to person the occupation for the adjacent season.
'Joe is going to beryllium successful It is not casual timing for him oregon the remainder of the staff,' Celtics president Brad Stevens said astatine Friday's property conference. 'But he's an exceptionally crisp and talented idiosyncratic and I judge powerfully successful him and his quality to pb people, his quality to galvanize a country and get down him and his quality to signifier and recognize each that comes with moving a squad during a season. He has truly bully hap connected hubby staff.'