Wednesday: Brad Stevens continued his first offseason as Celtics president of basketball operations
Udoka, who had a long professional playing career, was a coach at 35. After seven seasons working with Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, Udoka was voted one of the best assistants. He then moved to Philadelphia as a leading assistant for the 2019-20 season. Udoka joined Steve Nash’s Brooklyn staff for the 2020-21 season.
Udoka ticks many boxes for the Celtics. Udoka is a former player who has extensive coaching experience and also has good relationships with Boston’s core players. With all of this in mind, Udoka should be able immediately to command the locker room, which will certainly benefit the team. Stevens’ coaching methods are in line with Udoka’s defensive mindset, adding another positive aspect to this. Udoka is a veteran of many head coaching conversations. Filling the vacancy as head coach seemed inevitable. It was just a matter of “when” and not “if.” He has become a well-respected assistant across all 30 teams. The current Celtics core supported the hire with their whole hearts, or Stevens would not have made it.
After Udoka’s departure, the Brooklyn Nets are suddenly faced with the possibility of losing several assistants. Mike D’Antoni is reportedly scheduled to interview again for the Portland Trail Blazers opening, while Jacque Vaughn will interview for New Orleans Pelicans.
This hire and the Kemba Walker trade last week have given the Celtics organization a fresh look. Both moves are positive steps in the right direction. We are now waiting to see what Udoka brings to Boston to complete his new staff.
Day afternoon saw another notable move: reportedly, the organization has completed its coaching search.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have reached a deal to make Ime Udoka, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach, their next head coach. According to Wojnarowski’s account, Udoka received support from both Stevens as well as Celtics players. According to Wojnarowski’s report, Udoka, 43, was part of Team USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup team, which included Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as Marcus Smart. According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, all three players were consulted about this move.