Former D’Tigers star Ime Udoka set for fresh start, to join new Franchise as Head Coach
Former Boston Celtics coach set to return after one season hiatus
Former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka has agreed a deal to become the new Head Coach of the Houston Rockets according to insider reports from respected NBA journalist Adrian Wojnarowski. The Nigerian coach will join the side ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season, having been out of a job since the start of the 2022-23 regular season.
Breaking: Ime Udoka has agreed to a deal to become the next Houston Rockets coach, sources tell @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/1kQhaDd9Ba
— ESPN (@espn) April 24, 2023
Udoka, who was suspended by the Boston Celtics after he was found guilty of an improper workplace relationship, was considered for the job at the Brooklyn Nets before they decided to promote assistant coach Jacquie Vaughn. The former D’Tigers player is one of only five rookie coaches in the last 25 years to reach the NBA Finals, having done so with the Celtics in his only season with them.
Ime Udoka was convinced to take on the job in Houston by the Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone, who outlined the franchise’s team of young stars such as Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr, Kevin Porter Jr and others, as future world beaters. He also convinced the coach of the possibility of winning the draft lottery and selecting French phenom Victor Wembanyama in the next draft, which would give him one of the most sought-after players in the world.
The Houston Rockets ended the regular season with a dismal 22-60 record and missed out on the playoffs for a third successive season. In turning to Ime Udoka, the Rockets have chosen to trust a highly-rated young coach in the league to return their glory days. Udoka was also coveted by the Toronto Raptors after his dismissal from the Celtics three months ago.
After he was found to have used crude language in addressing a female subordinate before having an improper workplace relationship with another in his time as Celtics coach, the Rockets have made sure they are in the clear to appoint him. For Ime Udoka, this is an important second chance to redeem himself in the NBA.