The Houston Rockets have decided to move forward with hiring Ime Udoka as the new head coach.
Udoka made headlines a few months ago following a suspension from the Boston Celtics franchise following a violation of the team’s policy concerning an inappropriate relationship at the workplace.
Following the Celtics’ announcement that he would be suspended, Udoka made a statement saying, “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting 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.”
The investigation determined that Udoka used “crude language” towards a subordinate that led to an inappropriate relationship. The nature of the clear imbalance in the power dynamics at play made it that he, as the superior in the workplace, couldn’t be reinstated. Ultimately, the Celtics released him.
This matter was investigated by the Rockets alongside the league office and Celtics prior to the job offer.
The Rockets, who are focused on finding their way back to the top of the Western conference, moved quickly to bring Udoka on board. Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out, “Udoka and GM Rafael Stone kept talking on job. Both sides had some strong options in the marketplace, but a deal got done in the last 24 hours to land Udoka with the Rockets.”
Before the team policy violation, Udoka accomplished quite a bit in his single season as the head coach of the Celtics. He led the team to a 51-31 record and an appearance in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. This made Udoka one of only five rookie head coaches to make it to the NBA Finals in the last quarter century.
Rockets general manager Rafael Stone has been clear about the need for someone who can bring the young talent of Houston together. Udoka commands respect among players and demands defensive efficiency as he bolstered the Celtics to the No. 1 defensive spot during his tenure as head coach.