Ime Udoka Rumors

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Ime Udoka
Ime Udoka
Position: None
Born: 08/09/77
Height: 6-6 / 1.98
Weight:218 lbs. / 99 kg.
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Udoka has the potential to be an NBA head coach, Forcier believes. “He has the ambition to do that and the qualifications, too,” Forcier says. “He has a great demeanor, a great way of interacting with players that will be effective when he gets his opportunity.” Popovich says Forcier has been offered prominent roles on other staffs. “He’s had one to three offers each of the last two years to be on somebody’s bench and be a No. 2 or 3 assistant, and he’s opted not to do it,” Popovich says. “He loves San Antonio.”
Here’s how it went down: Udoka attended the Las Vegas Summer League to watch two first round picks he once coached on an AAU team in Oregon: Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets) and Terrence Ross (Toronto Raptors). As expected, Udoka ran into former NBA teammates and coaches. What he didn’t expect was a career-altering encounter with Popovich. One Spurs assistant, Don Newman, had left for a job with the Washington Wizards. A second assistant, Jacque Vaughn, was a leading candidate to become head coach in Orlando. The Spurs had one opening, maybe two, and Pop wondered if Udoka might be interested. “I was excited,” Udoka says. “It was something he had mentioned to me years ago. But that possibility to me was way down the line. With Coach Newman going to Washington and Jacque to Orlando, something opened sooner than expected and here we are.”
Thomas, who coached Udoka in summer league and for eight games of 2005-06 season with the Knicks, was the first to put the coaching bug in Udoka’s head. “He said, ‘You don’t score 20 points a game, but the young guys seem to respect you and respond to you,’ ” Udoka said. Since his retirement in 2011, Udoka had been living in Los Angeles, where his girlfriend, actress Nia Long, and their 9-month old son reside. The Spurs’ history as a proving ground for future NBA head coaches helped lure Udoka back to the game he loves. “You see their family tree all over the league,” Udoka said. “It’s a great opportunity. You know they’ll help you develop.”
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A veteran of 316 games over seven NBA seasons, parts of three of which were spent in San Antonio, Udoka joins a Spurs coaching staff depleted by the loss of Jacque Vaughn (Orlando head coach) and Don Newman (Washington lead assistant). Because Vaughn’s spot on the staff was considered “extra,” created specially for him when he became available in 2009, Udoka — a 35-year-old coaching rookie — is expected to be the team’s only bench hire this offseason. “I ran into Pop in Las Vegas during Summer League (in July),” said Udoka, a Portland native. “He let me know the deal with Jacque, that he was probably leaving. He told me a good opportunity might be there (in San Antonio).”
In a move certain to be well received by former teammates who remain on the Spurs roster, Ime Udoka has joined the Spurs coaching staff. The club on Tuesday announced the hiring of Udoka, who played two full seasons, 2007-09, with the Spurs. A 6-foot-6 forward, Udoka logged 160 regular season games in silver and black, plus 21 playoff games. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 2007-08; 4.3 points and 2.8u rebounds in 2008-09.
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On the sweet side, Ime Udoka is earning a good chunk of change playing professional basketball in Spain in the ACB league — considered the second-best loop in the world next to the NBA. On the sour side, the Portland native has been away from his girlfriend, actress Nia Long, and their newborn son for nearly three months. Frequent phone calls and Skype have helped, but Udoka is eager for his return to the United States in a few weeks to reunite with Nia and young Kez Monday Udoka. “It has been very hard to be away, especially at first,” Udoka says by phone from his apartment in Murcia, a city of about 500,000 in southeastern Spain. “I knew it was going to be only a four-month thing. “Kez is very young and not doing a whole lot, so in some ways, it’s the best time to be away. Skype helps, but you want to be there.”
Udoka thought he was going to be with New Jersey this season. He signed a free-agent deal with Nets after a collective-bargaining agreement was reached in December. He was waived with the final cuts, though, in part because an injury to center Brook Lopez necessitated the addition of another big man to the roster. A $100,000 contract with Murcia isn’t peanuts, “but it wasn’t as much about the money as what was happening in the NBA,” Udoka says. “I didn’t want to wait around. “This is a short, four-month thing. Spain is a great country. I had a great time (in 2004-05) and wanted to get back over and see how it would be.”
Once his playing career ends, Udoka has a very good idea of what he will do. “Coaching, for sure,” he said. “Probably the NBA – strictly basketball. “There are a lot of different avenues. “The part about it that really got me thinking about it was that all of the coaches I played for mentioned that they want me to coach with them when I’m done. So coach (Gregg) Popovich (San Antonio), Nate McMillan (former Portland coach), Isaiah Thomas (former New York coach) was the first to say it.
After today’s practice Dennis Horner, a Linwood native, got the news he’s been hoping for when general manager Billy King told him he made the team. Horner, a 6-foot-9 power forward, had been competing with Ime Udoka, a 6-foot-7 small forward, for the 15th and final spot on the roster. Horner went undrafted in 2010 after four years at North Carolina State and played in the NBDL last season for the Springfield Armor, the Nets’ affiliate. “It’s crazy,” a visibly happy Horner said shortly after the discussion with King. “It’s really special because I’m close to my family and they’ll be able to come up and see me, and my friends.”
I spoke to Durant, Ime Udoka and DeMar DeRozan on Thursday after they finished playing some full-court runs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. They said they still believed in Fisher and they all felt the players have already given enough in stating their willingness to drop from 57 percent in the old agreement to a proposal to go to 52.5, and they don’t want to go any lower. “I’m all for standing up for what you believe in,” Durant said. “I think that’s what we’re doing as a union. We’re playing in these games, these charity games, because we love what we do. We’re not going out here getting insurance, we’re not going out here getting paid. We love the game. Guys can get hurt playing in these games. But people don’t see that.”
There’s a baby on the way for Nia Long. The actress, 40, and professional basketball player Ime Udoka, 33, are expecting their first child together this fall, the couple confirm to PEOPLE exclusively. “This is the most exciting time in our lives,” Long and Udoka tell PEOPLE in a statement. “Words can’t explain how thrilled we are by the new addition to our family. We feel truly blessed and appreciate all the well wishes and prayers.”
It’s unclear if the impending NBA lockout is causing teams to hold more free agent workouts or I’m just hearing about them for the first time this offseason, but the Indiana Pacers became the latest team to invite non-rookies in for a look-see this week. The Pacers are holding a two-day free agent camp that began Monday and will wrap up Tuesday afternoon. Through a source with knowledge of the workout, Ridiculous Upside has a partial list of the invitees. The guard prospects included Bobby Brown, Matt Janning, Javaris Crittenton and Sylven Landesberg. The wings participating include NBA veterans James White (better known as “Flight” because he can do this), DeMarre Carroll and Ime Udoka. As far as big men go, Rob Kurz, Leo Lyons, Chris Daniels and Trent Plaisted were all in attendance on Monday.