Report: Celtics to hire Ime Udoka as new head coach

0 Comments

Ime Udoka has been on the cusp of landing an NBA head coaching job for several seasons. Now it appears he has landed one of the plum jobs this summer.

Udoka will be the next coach of the Boston Celtics. He had been rumored to be the frontrunner, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news he got the job.

Udoka was one of three people known to have a second interview with Boston, along with Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and Milwaukee assistant Darvin Ham. As noted by Wojnarowski, what gave Udoka a leg up is he was an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich on the 2019 USA Basketball World Cup team that featured Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. The Celtics core connected with Udoka.

Udoka, who played for seven seasons in the NBA, came up as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, then left the Spurs to be an assistant under Brett Brown in Philadelphia before jumping to the Nets this season. He is highly respected around the league, players like him, and he has a reputation for organization and being a process-focused coach.

Hiring a coach of color is a priority for team president Brad Stevens in the wake of recent discussions of racist treatment of players in Boston. That was amplified by Brown with a recent Tweet.

 

Steven has been busy since the surprise of him moving up to the big chair in Boston this offseason. In addition to hiring a coach, he traded Kemba Walker to Oklahoma City for Al Horford in a move that frees up some salary cap space for the Celtics as they retool the roster around the elite core of Tatum and Brown.

A roster that Udoka will guide.