The Celtics did not specify what violations of Odoka’s policy were. ESPN and The Athletic reported that the 45-year-old Nigerian-American had a consensual relationship with a Celtics crew member that violated the franchise’s code of conduct.
The penalty, among the harshest ever for an NBA coach, comes with the Celtics pre-season training camp set to open next week. In a statement obtained by ESPN, Odoka said he accepted the Celtics’ decision. “I want to apologize to our players, the fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Odoka said. “I am sorry to put the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision.
“Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.” ESPN reports that assistant coach Joe Mazzola will take over as interim coach for the 2022-23 season. Odoka’s assistant Will Hardy left last season in June to become the head coach of the Utah Jazz. Udoka replaced Brad Stevens as coach last season after Stevens was promoted to Chief of Basketball Operations following the departure of Danny Ing. Odoka played seven seasons in the NBA, the last four with San Antonio before his football career ended in 2011.
He had worked as an assistant coach with San Antonio, Philadelphia and Brooklyn before taking charge of the Celtics in June 2021 and had an impressive first season. Under Odoka’s leadership, Boston developed the best defense in the NBA and closed out last season with a score of 28-7.
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They beat the star-studded Brooklyn Nets in the first round, then knocked out the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in the second round. They sent the Miami Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. They fell in six games to the Golden State Warriors in the Championship Series in June, but the players were full of praise for Odoka.
“When you have a coach who wants to hold you accountable, and not just you but everyone on the team the same way, that’s how you know you have the ingredients for a great coach trying to get a spot,” Boston’s Marcus Smart said. during the NBA Finals.
– NBA scandals –
The turmoil is adding uncertainty to the Celtics’ upcoming campaign after an encouraging off-season that included the acquisition of Malcolm Brugdon and veteran free agent Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari tore ligaments in his left knee while playing for Italy in the Basketball World Cup qualifiers in August and will miss the season. Celtics center Rob Williams is expected to miss the start of the season after knee surgery.
This issue is also another scandal for the National Basketball Association as the start of the season approaches on October 18. Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who has been banned for a year and fined $10 million by the NBA for racially misogynistic remarks and workplace bullying, said Wednesday that he will sell the Suns and Phoenix Mercury from the WNBA.
The announcement came after NBA stars including the Suns Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James denounced the NBA penalty imposed on Sarver as being too lenient. Sarver has also come under pressure from sponsors, with the Suns supporter PayPal saying he will not renew his deal with the team if Sarver returns after being suspended.