The Houston Rockets and Ime Udoka have agreed to a contract to make Udoka the franchise’s next head coach, ESPN and The Athletic reported Monday.
Udoka, 45, guided the Boston Celtics to an Eastern Conference title and NBA Finals appearance in 2021-22, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors.
The Celtics announced before training camp last summer that Udoka violated team policies related to an intimate relationship with a female staff member. Though it was initially viewed as a consensual relationship, the woman accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her.
The Celtics suspended the head coach for a year and promoted Joe Mazzulla to interim head coach, later making him Udoka’s permanent replacement.
Udoka’s name had been floated as a candidate for the Brooklyn Nets’ head-coaching position that became vacant during the 2022-23 season. ESPN also reported last week that Udoka was expected to be a candidate for the Toronto Raptors’ vacancy.
The Celtics went 51-31 in Udoka’s lone season as an NBA head coach. The Portland, Ore., native worked as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs (2012-19), Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) and Nets (2020-21) before that.
The Rockets fired coach Stephen Silas after a 22-60 campaign. They have a 14 percent probability of receiving the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft lottery, tied with the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs.
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