“We didn’t Know He Was Leaving To Go Coach Somebody Else” | Marcus Smart And Celtics Players Confused Over Ime Udoka Reportedly Headed To Coach The Nets

(Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

It sounds like embattled and suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is set to become the next head coach of the Brooklyn Nets as soon as this weekend. Celtics guard Marcus Smart and other players on the team seem confused as to how this is all possible.

“From what we know and were told, it was just a suspension. We didn’t know he was leaving to go coach somebody else,” Smart said. “We thought they just suspended him for the year and he’d be back. That’s why it’s confusing. We weren’t told too much about it.”
Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for the season for violating team rules when he had an improper intimate consensual relationship with a female subordinate, Kathleen Nimmo Lynch. Instead of firing Udoka for cause immediately, which they could have done, the Celtics opted to suspend him for the season.
In the current climate we are in, a zero-tolerance policy for workplace sexual misconduct is expected. So why didn’t the Celtics fire him for what is a fireable offense?
If they had fired Udoka he would have likely filed suit against the team. Once that process starts there will be discovery. With discovery intimate and private details of the situation with Udoka and Lynch will become public. There are clearly details the Celtics don’t want made public.
So they suspended him for the year, hoping things would calm down and if and when teams would inquire about him and they would happily let him go. The Celtics reportedly will not seek any draft compensation for Udoka leaving while still under contract to coach another team.
“I think it left a lot of people just like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ Because obviously, they suspended him for breaking a team rule. And it’s like, ‘OK, now obviously it looks like more than a suspension. But he’s able to still coach,” Smart continued. “So what exactly was the team rule and how big was it to the point they felt they needed to suspend him and then all of a sudden say, ‘You’re gone’ and allow him to go coach somewhere else?
“I think that’s the confusing part because nobody knows on both sides and there’s not much that people on both sides can say and talk about. It’s just a tough situation for every party involved.”
“It would’ve been awesome if we could’ve figured out a way for it to be with us, but I guess that wasn’t the case,” Jaylen Brown said.
It’s understandable that Smart is confused and possibly upset. But Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla is doing an excellent job and looks like he will shed that interim tag if things continue on this trajectory. The Celtics still look as formidable as any team in the league. The sooner Udoka goes, the organization can move on.
Eliminate any potential for distraction so you can focus on being as good possible and competing for a title.
Udoka will have to talk to the media eventually and answer questions, as much as he is allowed, about what happened in Boston. For the Celtics, the further away he is from them when he speaks the better.