A source involved with the talks who is not authorised to speak publicly has confirmed that the Houston Rockets want to employ Ime Udoka, the former Boston Celtics coach who was suspended for workplace misbehaviour.
After an outside law firm investigated Udoka’s behaviour, the Celtics banned him without warning for the entire 2022-2023 NBA season in late September. Udoka allegedly dated a female subordinate, as reported by two sources with knowledge of the matter. Celtics management has been tight-lipped regarding Udoka’s transgressions, saying only that he had broken “multiple” rules. According to one of these persons, Udoka was let go by the Celtics in February.
After nine years as an assistant coach, Udoka led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his debut season as head coach.
Several clubs have mentioned Udoka as a candidate for head coaching positions after he was suspended. Within hours after Steve Nash’s firing in November, rumours began circulating that Udoka was a leading candidate for the Nets position. Udoka served as an assistant with the Nets in 2020-21. Instead of hiring Nash, the Nets went with one of his coaches, Jacque Vaughn.
Udoka had a reputation for being tough on the court while with the Celtics. His attitude won him the respect of his teammates, and even when he was suspended, several of the team’s best players openly backed him. In February, forward Jayson Tatum said to the media, “probably like my most favourite coach I’ve had and that’s not a knock on anybody.” It was reported in March that guard Jaylen Brown was “a little bit shocked” by Udoka’s ban, based on an interview with Brown conducted by The Ringer.
“So, whether you stood on this side or that side, they was going to find wrong from a coach that I advocated to bring here to Boston,” Brown added. Whatever it was, I just wanted to see him standing here again. That’s not an inappropriate emotion, in my opinion.
The Celtics concluded the regular season with the second-best record in the league after replacing Udoka with one of his assistants, Joe Mazzulla. The squad is currently up 3-1 against the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.
At 22-60, the Rockets ranked at the bottom of the NBA this year. As a team, they were towards the bottom of the league in offence and defence. Stephen Silas finished 59-177 in three years as Houston’s head coach. The Rockets exercised their right to not retain him on April 10.
Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green are just two of the many promising young players on the Rockets’ roster. It is expected that the Rockets will have enough room in their salary cap this summer to sign at least one superstar to a maximum deal, and they also have a plethora of draught selections for the future. There is a 1 in 14 possibility that each of Houston, Detroit, and San Antonio will have the first overall choice in the NBA draught this coming June. It is generally anticipated that the highly regarded French talent Victor Wembanyama would be selected first overall.