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Celtics select Nets assistant Ime Udoka as coach

Celtics select Nets assistant Ime Udoka as coach

Ime Udoka, current assistant for the Brooklyn Nets, is the one chosen to replace Brad Stevens on the Boston Celtics bench that he held for eight seasons, US media reported on Wednesday.

“The Boston Celtics are finalizing a deal to hire Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka as their new coach,” advanced ESPN journalist Adrian Wojnarowski.

Brad Stevens himself, promoted this month to sports president of the historic NBA franchise, has been tasked with leading the search for his replacement as head coach.

Udoka, the chosen one, was for seven years Gregg Popovich’s assistant on the San Antonio Spurs (2012-2019).

Subsequently, he also held this position in the Philadelphia 76ers (2019-2020) and Brooklyn Nets (2020-2021), and in Boston he will have his first opportunity as head coach of a franchise.

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Other candidates for the Celtics vacancy were fellow assistants Chauncey Billups (Clippers) and Darvin Ham (Bucks).

According to ESPN, Udoka received key support in the process from the three Boston figures – Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart – whom he led as Popovich’s assistant on the US national team during the 2019 World Cup in China.

The 43-year-old coach played seven seasons in the NBA (Lakers, Knicks, Blazers, Spurs and Kings) and was also international with the Nigerian team, his father’s country of origin.

The Celtics are in a deep sports restructuring that included the departure of Danny Ainge as sports president earlier this month and his replacement by Brad Stevens.

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Ainge, the only ‘Celtic’ who has won titles as a player and as general manager, resigned from his position after a negative season in which Boston had to qualify for the playoffs in the ‘play in’ (repechage) and was eliminated by a clear 4-1 in the first round for the Philadelphia 76ers.

In his first dispatch decision, Stevens traded guard Kemba Walker and a first round draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week in exchange for the return of Dominican center Al Horford. (AFP)

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