Silver reportedly may have dissuaded Nets from hiring Udoka; Celtics continue to pay half of Ime's salary
Another new wrinkle in the saga that is the Brooklyn Nets hiring of suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka comes today. Adam Zagoria of NJ.com writes in his latest piece:
"A second source said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ‘may have stepped in’ and also said ‘there has been some concern from women in leadership positions within the Nets.'”
The NBA doesn't like to intervene with how franchises are run, but when there is enough public pressure the commissioner will step in. The league was able to force Clippers owner Donald Stern to sell and convinced Suns owner Robert Sarver to put his team up for sale as well.
And when Sam Hinkie was blatantly obvious with the 76ers tanking efforts, the league somehow convinced Philly ownership to replace him with the elder Colangelo. The NBA like to pretend that tanking doesn't exist. I've always felt they should stop rewarding losing with high draft picks.
In the case of Udoka, the Celtics full season suspension definitely seemed sufficient when it was announced, but the idea of Udoka returning to coach after an extended summer vacation and just six games sidelined was a bad look. We'll wait to see what the Nets decide to do.
As for why the Celtics had no problem with the Nets hiring Udoka, it's because their suspension wasn't ever really a suspension. It was a firing, but in a way where the Celtics don't have to pay Udoka's full sallary. According to Shams Charania the Celtics are currently paying Udoka half of his salary to stay at home.
The Spurs handling of the Joshua Primo situation has resulted in lawsuits, and accusations of racism, not protecting women, and not caring about mental health. So needless to say it's not very similar to the Celtics where Udoka publicly accepted his suspension and apologized.
That might have been part of a deal the Celtics made with Udoka where he doesn't sue them for wrongful termination in exchange for the team paying him half of his salary. Just a possibility. I don't have any insider information on this, but I do know that it was just one offseason ago when Kyrie Irving caused a racial controversy in Boston and you had Boston and national reporters calling for the Celtics to replace Brad Stevens with a Black head coach.
The Celtics hired Udoka and one would think the organization would want to avoid the press of any charges of racism for Boston dumping Ime after one season. There were still some accusations of racism the day after the suspension was announced, but not many and they soon went away.