Nets expected to hire Ime Udoka to replace Steve Nash as head coach

Ime Udoka closeup with Celtics June 2022
Ime Udoka closeup with Celtics June 2022

Ime Udoka, who was suspended for the season by the Boston Celtics, is expected to replace Steve Nash as Nets head coach, reports SNY's Ian Begley.

The Nets parted ways with Nash earlier on Tuesday.

Kevin Durant is a huge fan of Udoka, which was one of the reasons why Durant was linked to the Celtics in trade rumors during the offseason. When Udoka was an assistant with the Nets, he wasn’t shy about coaching Durant and Kyrie Irving with an edge and challenging them, according to Begley.

The Celtics will reportedly not seek compensation for Udoka.

Udoka, 45, was suspended by the Celtics before the start of the season due to "multiple violations of team policies." ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski had reported that an investigation found Udoka used "crude language" in dialogue with a female subordinate prior to the start of an "improper relationship."

After suspending Udoka, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck said they made the decision because it "felt right" but that there were "no clear guidelines for any of this."

"It's conscience and gut feel," Grousbeck said, adding, "We collectively came to this and got there but it was not clear what to do but it was clear something substantial needed to be done, and it was."

Udoka worked as an assistant coach for the Nets during the 2020-21 season after serving in a similar capacity for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2019-20 season and the San Antonio Spurs from 2012 to 2019.

In his first season as the Celtics' head coach in 2021-22, Udoka led the team to a 51-31 record and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston advanced to the NBA Finals, where the team lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

The Athletic was first to report that the Nets were expected to hire Udoka.