BREAKING: Rockets hire former Celtics HC Ime Udoka to be new head coach

Jun 8, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka reacts in the second quarter during game three of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

BREAKING: Rockets hire former Celtics HC Ime Udoka to be new head coach

The Houston Rockets are hiring former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka to lead the team moving forward, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday afternoon.

Udoka, 45, has worked as an NBA coach since 2012 when he was hired as an assistant coach under head coach Gregg Popovich. Udoka was with the Spurs until 2019, helping lead San Antonio to a title in 2014 before being hired by Philadelphia as an assistant coach for the 2019-2020 season. Udoka was then hired by the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant coach for the 2020-2021 season before landing his first head coaching gig with the Boston Celtics on June 28, 2021.

Udoka led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in 2022, where they were defeated by the Golden State Warriors in six games. In September of 2022, the Boston Celtics suspended Udoka for the entirety of the 2022-2023 season for violations of team policies related to a relationship he’d maintained with a female Celtics staff member that was deemed improper. Joe Mazzulla was given the Celtics’ head coaching job on an interim basis at the time, and was officially named the team’s permanent head coach on Feb. 16, 2023, effectively ending Udoka’s time in Boston.

On Monday, Ime Udoka was hired as head coach of the Houston Rockets following the team’s 22-60 record under Stephen Silas. Houston last reached the playoffs in 2019-2020, enduring three consecutive losing seasons since.

As a player, Udoka had NBA stints with the Lakers, Knicks, Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Kings, but spent much of his career playing internationally or in the NBA’s G-League, known at the time as the NBDL and later the D-League. Udoka went undrafted in 2000 after playing college basketball at Utah State Eastern, San Francisco, and Portland State. Internationally, Udoka represented Nigeria as a player in 2005, 2006, and 2011, and served as an assistant coach for Team USA under head coach Gregg Popovich.

Udoka arrives in Houston with a 51-31 NBA regular season record and a 14-10 postseason record as a head coach.

Gallery Sports will update this story as it develops.

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