Report: Celtics finalizing deal to name Ime Udoka new head coach
Brad Stevens and the Celtics have found their man.
And it’s not exactly a surprise, as Ime Udoka, the reported frontrunner for the Celtics’ head coaching vacancy, will indeed be named the 18th in the C’s franchise history, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
An assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets this past season, and with the Philadelphia 76ers for just one season before that, Udoka truly cut his teeth as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs on Gregg Popovich’s staff from 2012 through 2019.
That run under Popovich included an NBA championship in 2014, and saw Udoka coach on the international stage, as he worked with Team USA during the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The international experience may have given Udoka the extra push in this process, too, as that USA team featured the Celtics’ big three of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum.
Udoka separated himself quickly in Brad Stevens' search process, including significant support from Celtics players who were impressed with Udoka after working under him with Team USA in the World's. https://t.co/87p0Q02tkS— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2021
Prior to his coaching career, the 43-year-old Udoka spent seven seasons in the NBA between five different franchises, and represented his native Nigeria in the 2006 FIBA World Championships.
Given who he was as a player, Udoka’s been considered by many to be a defensive-minded coach, and coached those roles in all of his assistant coaching stops. This move to Boston will give him a roster that allows him to stay true to those elements between Smart and an Al Horford reunion (Udoka coached him with the Sixers in 2019-20), while also working with two young All-Star talents to build around in Brown and Tatum.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.