The 2022-23 NBA season is already underway as the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics are currently battling the Philadelphia 76ers on TNT.
Hours before the game, Stephen A. Smith floated a wild theory about Ime Udoka.
Speaking on “First Take,” Smith stated that the Celtics suspended Udoka for at least a year rather than firing him after having an affair with a married team employee was because they wanted to keep him away from possibly joining the Nets.
“I believe part of the reason he was suspended, not fired, is because the Boston Celtics did not want him to end up in Brooklyn,” Smith said. “I believe that Ime Udoka, had he gotten fired, with all the stuff that happened — remember, the operative words were ‘consensual relationship, violation of organization policy!’ So because it’s that, it’s about your behavior, which we don’t endorse, as opposed to a crime.
“And because there was nothing that was put out there that said it was a crime, I believe that if Ime Udoka had been fired by the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets would’ve fired Steve Nash and brought that brother back and he would be the coach for the Brooklyn Nets right now. That’s how emphatic I am about this.”
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Udoka made “unwanted comments” to the woman involved, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN later reported that Udoka used “crude language” with her.
The Celtics reached the NBA Finals in Udoka’s first season as head coach. Joe Mazzulla has been named their interim coach for this year.
There is still no guarantee he will be back with the team when he comes back.