Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 08: Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics calls out a play in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 08, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

One of the first hires of the 2023 NBA coaching carousel is a big one. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on Monday, the Houston Rockets are hiring former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka as their 16th head coach in franchise history. Udoka will replace Stephen Silas, who was released from his contract by the team at the end of the regular season.

Udoka coached the Celtics for the 2021-2022 season, leading them through a mid-season turnaround that took them to the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade. In the weeks leading up to the 2022-2023 season, he was suspended and later let go by the Celtics due to what was described as an improper workplace relationship.

  • This isn’t the first time that Udoka, 45, has drawn head coach interest since parting with the Celtics. Back in the fall the Nets were reportedly ready to hire him to replace Steve Nash, but were then reportedly pressured by the league out of doing so.

    The Rockets weren’t the only team interested in Udoka’s services. He was also viewed as a candidate for the Toronto Raptors’ opening. Had he taken that job, the Celtics would have faced him four times a year as a division opponent.

    Instead, Udoka joins a Houston Rockets team coming off a 22-win season. The Rockets are emerging from a rebuild – in the last two years they’ve taken Jalen Green second overall and Jabari Smith third overall. They also have two first-round picks in this upcoming draft including their own, which will have a high chance at being the top overall selection. In addition, they’re projected to have about $60 million in salary cap space this summer.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.

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