ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is set to become the next head coach of the Houston Rockets. He was suspended by the organization for the entirety of the 2022-23 season for violation of team policies and was permanently replaced by interim Joe Muzzulla. Udoka will replace former Rockets coach Stephen Silas, who was fired by organization upon the conclusion of the regular season.
A rising assistant coach in the league since 2012, Udoka was hired by the Celtics in 2021 after former head coach Brad Stevens stepped down to become president of basketball operations for the organization. The rookie coach found immediate success in his first season in Boston, leading the team to a 51-31 record during the regular season and a trip to the NBA Finals. That September, however, it was reported that he would face a season-long suspension for having an intimate relationship with a female member of the Celtics’ staff, a violation of organization guidelines. The aforementioned Mazzulla took the reigns for the season and was officially named the permanent head coach on February 16.
Udoka will now be taking over for a Rockets team that finished the season tied for the worst record in the Western Conference at 22-60. Through recent years of futility, the team has been able to draft a promising young core with players like Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and Alperen Sengun. The team will enter the 2023 NBA Draft with 14% odds to land the No. 1 overall pick, tied with the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs. Whoever lands the top pick will most likely select 7’3” phenom Victor Wembanyama out of France.