After building on their already strong roster by adding former Atlanta Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari, the Celtics found out Gallinari would not be able to make his Boston debut this upcoming season as he suffered a season-ending injury at EuroBasket while playing for Italy.
In addition to Gallinari, the Celtics will also be without one of their starters when the preseason begins as Robert Williams is expected to miss time at the start of the year due to an arthroscopic knee procedure.
The hits will keep coming to the defending Eastern Conference Champions. On Wednesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is currently facing “disciplinary action that is expected to include a significant suspension.”
Per Wojnarowski, Udoka allegedly has a role in a “consensual intimate relationship with a woman who is a member of the franchise’s staff.”
To no surprise, Udoka’s alleged relationship with a staff member is a violation of the Celtics’ organizational guidelines. Therefore, a suspension timeline is expected to come as early as Thursday.
Right now, it’s unclear how long Udoka could be suspended for his role in the incident, but Wojnarowski speculates that there have been discussions about Udoka potentially missing the entire 2022-2023 NBA season when the Celtics will look to defend their conference title run.
If that’s the case, the Celtics are expected to look at an internal candidate to replace Udoka for the time being, as his job is not currently in jeopardy, according to ESPN.
A few seasons ago, Udoka joined the Philadelphia 76ers’ staff after a long stint with the San Antonio Spurs. After spending one season on Brett Brown’s staff, Udoka found a new role with the Brooklyn Nets after Brown was replaced by Doc Rivers in Philadelphia.
After just one season in Brooklyn, Udoka landed a head coaching job with the Celtics. Although Udoka’s Celtics struggled at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season, they bounced back in the second half of the year and garnered the No. 2 seed in the East.
The Celtics made an impressive playoff run, which included sweeping the Nets, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks, and taking out the top-seeded Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference title. While the Celtics came up short against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, they are expected to remain in title talks for the upcoming season.
However, a series of injuries and a possible significant suspension for Udoka certainly put a question mark beside the Celtics as training camp approaches.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.