Boston Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka is facing a season-long suspension for engaging in a consensual intimate relationship with a female staff member. If a suspension of this duration is announced, it will be the longest ever given to an NBA coach.

Udoka’s relationship was reported last Wednesday and the team has been quick to investigate. The coach’s conduct violates the organization’s guidelines, and a season-long suspension is the proposed punishment, according to ESPN. An announcement could come at any point this week.

Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla will likely take over head coaching duties while Udoka serves his suspension. Mazzulla has worked for the Celtics since 2019 and was previously the head coach at Fairmont State University.

In his first season as head coach last year, Udoka led the Celtics through a torrid second half and subsequent NBA Finals appearance, the team’s first in 12 years. After several seasons as an assistant for several franchises, he took over the head coaching position for Brad Stevens, who accepted a position as the Celtics’ president.

In his first postseason as head coach, Udoka’s Celtics won back-to-back seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. The team went on to lose to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, but under their new coach’s leadership, the Celtics are expected to be Eastern Conference contenders for many seasons to come. His suspension may keep him on the sidelines at a point when he could have been integral in sustaining the team’s success.

In his career as a player, Udoka appeared in stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs, the team that gave him his first job as an assistant from 2012 to 2019.

Udoka began dating actress Nia Long in 2010 and the couple has been together since. They have a son who was born in 2011.

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