Celtics remove interim tag, promote Joe Mazzulla to head coach, and part ways with Ime Udoka
It was believed that the Boston Celtics were going to wait until Ime Udoka was either hired by another team or some buyout took place with his contract to remove the interim tag from Joe Mazzulla's head coaching title. Udoka hasn't been hired elsewhere, but the Celtics have went ahead and announced Joe Mazzulla as the official head coach, along with a contract extension as the All-Star break begins.
“As he has shown, Joe is a very talented coach & leader,” said Brad Stevens. “He has a unique ability to galvanize a room around a mission. We are thankful for the work he has done to help get us to this point, & excited that he has agreed to lead us into the future.”— Raul Martinez (@RaulNBCBoston) February 16, 2023
Mazzulla has led the Celtics to an NBA best 42-17 record at the All-Star break. He and his coaching staff will be coaching Team Giannis at the All-Star game in Salt Lake City, Utah this coming Sunday.
What grade do you give Joe Mazzulla as head coach through the first 59 games of the NBA season?— CelticsLife.com (@celticslife) February 16, 2023
Joe Mazzulla is officially the 19th Head Coach in franchise history 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 pic.twitter.com/LMcTLS1u0m— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 16, 2023
According to Chris Mannix, the Celtics and Ime Udoka have officially parted ways. This means that either they agreed to a buyout or the Celtics have agreed to pay the remainder of Udoka's contract obligations (unlikely).
There was a moment in locker room after Wednesday's win over the Pistons when Jayson Tatum quietly said "congratulations" to Mazzulla during a moment by Tatum's locker. It's clear now what that pat on the back was for. #Celtics #NBA— Kyle Hightower (@khightower) February 16, 2023
Also according to Mannix, Udoka will likely be getting a shot with a new team as soon as this summer.
Ime Udoka is no longer employed in any capacity by the Celtics, I’m told. https://t.co/B5gtMgBI1b— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) February 16, 2023
The Nets were planning on hiring Udoka earlier this season, but due to the bad press they were already getting due to the Kyrie Irving anti-semetic video scandal, they got cold feet and went with Jacque Vaughn instead.
Celtics acknowledge that Mazzulla replaces Ime Udoka, which officially ends Udoka’s time in Boston. It’s expected that Udoka will be a strong candidate this summer for any head coaching jobs that open up.— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) February 16, 2023