Ime Udoka is back in the league.
The Houston Rockets reached a deal to make Udoka their next head coach on Monday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This will mark Udoka’s first job in the league since his season-long suspension and eventual parting with the Boston Celtics last year.
ESPN Sources: Ime Udoka has agreed to a deal to become the next Houston Rockets coach. pic.twitter.com/xhcDRDfnNJ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 24, 2023
Udoka will replace Stephen Silas in Houston. The Rockets parted ways with Silas earlier this month, ending his tenure with the franchise after just three seasons. They went 58-177 over that span.
Ime Udoka’s messy end in Boston
Udoka, just months after leading the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season with the team, was suspended by the organization for the entire 2022-23 season for violations of their code of conduct. Udoka allegedly had a consensual and intimate relationship with a female staffer and allegedly made inappropriate remarks toward her. Both of those are violations of team policy, and the female staffer reported the violations.
eThe Celtics have not commented specifically on the allegations against Udoka, though h apologized in a vague statement at the time of his suspension.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” he said in September. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision.”
The Celtics have since promoted assistant Joe Mazzulla to replace Udoka. Mazzulla was a finalist for Coach of the Year.
About six weeks after that suspension was announced, the Brooklyn Nets were reportedly close to hiring Udoka to replace Steve Nash. After heavy criticism, however, the team opted to promote assistant Jacque Vaughn to the head coaching job instead.
According to Wojnarowski, the Rockets had “probed the circumstances around” Udoka’s departure with Boston. Clearly, they had no issues after that probe.
With the Rockets job now filled, the Detroit Pistons and Raptors are the only franchises in the league currently with openings. Longtime Pistons coach Dwane Casey announced plans to move into the Pistons front office earlier this month.