Ime Udoka address Celtics suspension at Rockets introduction: ‘I had to own it’

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Ime Udoka spent most of the past year in a state of coaching limbo. The former leader of the Boston Celtics was suspended for the 2022-23 season by the team due to an inappropriate relationship between him and a team employee. In that time, he was nearly hired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets before they ultimately decided to promote interim coach Jacque Vaughn to the full-time job. The Celtics would later do the same with Joe Mazzulla, essentially confirming that Udoka would not be back with the team next season.

But on Monday, the basketball world received clarity on Udoka’s future when he was hired as the head coach of the Houston Rockets. At his introductory press conference Wednesday, he finally addressed the suspension and spoke of the need to take accountability for what happened.

“Honestly my part in it was to take ownership and accountability for my part,” Udoka said. “They had a choice to make, a decision, and they went that route, and my thing was own up to it, take responsibility, and I served the suspension and had to own it, honestly. So, same thing i’ll preach to the guys. I can’t sit here and not take accountability myself. So it was their right to go about it however they wanted to and that’s the choice they took.”

Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta preached forgiveness at the press conference, saying that anyone who would deny Udoka a second-chance in the NBA is not a “good, Christian person.” He added that “we’re a forgiving world and anybody that isn’t forgiving… then shame on them.”

The Rockets reportedly investigated the Udoka situation before hiring him and came to the conclusion that there was nothing that should disqualify him from working again in the NBA, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Rockets, who finished with the NBA’s worst record in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, are expected to push for immediate improvement next season. In Udoka’s first season at the helm in Boston, the Celtics leapt from the play-in round to the NBA Finals. Now Houston is hoping that he can work the same magic for the Rockets next season.

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Publish Date:2023-04-27 06:55:56

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