A league source confirmed Wednesday night that Celtics coach Emi Odoka will face a ban for violating team policy. The source said the discipline will likely be determined soon, but declined to go into details of Odoka’s status.
Athletic reported early Thursday morning that Odoka, 45, had an inappropriate intimate and consensual relationship with a female staff member. Odoka has been engaged to actress Nia Long since 2015, and the couple have an 11-year-old son.
According to ESPN, the Celtics are considering a one-year suspension.
After a rough start in which the Celtics risked losing the playoffs last season, Odoka led the team to the NBA Finals in his first season as an NBA coach and finished fourth in the Coach of the Year vote. He has earned the trust and respect of his players through his demanding, disciplined and accountable style.
It is unclear what assistant Celtics will replace Odoka if he is discontinued. Will Hardy, Boston’s head coach last season, was the obvious choice, but in June he was named head coach for the jazz. Ben Sullivan led the Boston Summer League team in Las Vegas in July and was an assistant with the Bucks when they won the NBA title in 2021. Joe Mazzola, who is seen as a rising star in coaching, was interviewed at the Utah State Open before being promoted in End to the bench position on the Odoka staff this summer.
After winning two NBA titles last June, the Celtics have added veterans Malcolm Brugdon and Danilo Galinari to their list of talented youngsters built around First Team All-NBA pick Jason Tatum. Boston later became the favorite bet to win the championship.
But the past few weeks have been full of bumps.
Gallinari tore up the AFC Champions League while playing for Italy in the Basketball World Cup qualifiers and is expected to miss the entire season. Then the Celtics announced on Tuesday that Robert Williams, who was out for a month last spring after a meniscus tear, will have a second operation on his left knee and will be out for 4-6 weeks.
Now, Odoka’s situation made things even more turbulent. The Celtics are scheduled to hold a media day on Monday before opening their training camp at the Auerbach Center on Tuesday.
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