Nets Assistant Ime Udoka Nears Deal to Coach the Celtics

Nets Assistant Ime Udoka Nears Deal to Coach the Celtics

Ime Udoka, who was an assistant for the Nets this season, is nearing an settlement to change into the subsequent head coach of the Boston Celtics, an individual aware of the discussions however not approved to debate them publicly stated on Wednesday.

Udoka spent seven years as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs underneath Gregg Popovich and one season as an assistant in Philadelphia earlier than coming to the Nets. He additionally played in the N.B.A. as a reserve for seven years, together with spurts with the Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers and three seasons with the Spurs.

The information of the upcoming hiring was first reported by ESPN.

This would be the second high-profile transfer made by the brand new Celtics staff president, Brad Stevens, who was unexpectedly thrust into the position this month. His predecessor, Danny Ainge, stepped down after the Nets knocked the Celtics out of the playoffs in the first round.

Stevens had coached the staff for the final eight years, however this season had been a very tumultuous one for the Celtics, who had been besieged by accidents and an ill-fitting roster that lacked depth. Boston’s finest participant, the All-Star Jayson Tatum, additionally handled lingering results from Covid-19. After making the Japanese Convention finals in 2019-20, the Celtics needed to combat simply to get into the playoffs and completed the season at 36-36.

Udoka, 43, will inherit a staff centered on two All-Star wings, Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In his first main transfer as staff president, Stevens final week traded Kemba Walker, who was the staff’s place to begin guard, and Boston’s 2021 first-round decide to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder for Al Horford and Moses Brown, an up-and-coming middle. The transfer elevated the Celtics’ monetary flexibility.

On the information convention asserting his promotion, Stevens stated of the teaching search: “I feel that the excellent news about whoever we rent, they don’t must fill Doc Rivers’s sneakers like I did, they usually don’t must fill Danny Ainge’s sneakers now like I do. The excellent news is that they have to determine a solution to be higher than the final man.”

Udoka, who’s Nigerian American, will change into the sixth Black coach within the history of the franchise. The others had been Rivers (2004-13), M.L. Carr (1995-97), K.C. Jones (1983-88), Tom Sanders (1978) and Invoice Russell (1966-69).

In a league that has been criticized for predominantly hiring white coaches, although greater than 70 % of gamers are Black, Udoka can be one among 9 nonwhite head coaches. (This doesn’t embrace Nate McMillan, who’s Black and the interim head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.) Udoka can be teaching in a metropolis that was as soon as once more within the highlight for its remedy of Black athletes, throughout this yr’s playoffs. Kyrie Irving, who performed for the Celtics from 2017 to 2019, suggested that he had heard racist comments from followers throughout his time in Boston and stated that he hoped he wouldn’t hear them as a member of the Nets.

There are six different head teaching vacancies throughout the league, in Portland, Orlando, Indiana, New Orleans, Washington and Dallas.

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