NBA rumors: Celtics' formal announcement on Ime Udoka could come today

The Boston Celtics are finalizing an agreement with Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka to make him the franchise’s new coach, sources told ESPN. A formal announcement is expected as soon as Wednesday.

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Jeff Goodman: Ime Udoka’s experience coaching Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart a couple years ago in Team USA was significant in his hiring. “Those guys all liked him and respected him,” one source told me. “He’s an easy guy to connect with.”
Ime Udoka has received strong reviews from Celtics players who played for the U.S. National team in the 2019 World Cup tournament, sources said. Udoka was an assistant under national coach Gregg Popovich. Udoka joined Steve Nash's staff this year after one season with the Sixers and seven years under Popovich with the Spurs.
Stevens interviewed Celtics assistants Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison and Jerome Allen and plans to broaden the search to include Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Billups, a person with knowledge of the process told USA TODAY Sports. ESPN reported the Celtics wanted to interview Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley and Bucks assistant Charles Lee. Coaching insiders indicate the Celtics will hire externally rather than promoting from within.
After spending eight years in that role, he recently said he believes the team could benefit from someone with fresh perspectives. “I don’t think anything was missing with Brad,” Maxwell said. “I just think now everybody thinks it’s time for another voice. A voice gets tired after a while, so a new direction, a new following. And I happen to like the fact that Brad is being the head of basketball operations because who would know better about the weaknesses and the strengths of this team than the guy who’s seen this team almost every day. So he knows better than anybody what this team needs.”
Maxwell believes the most important job for the next coach will be connecting with the Celtics’ younger players. He thinks the team would benefit from hiring a person of color with NBA playing experience to coach. “I think it’s important because if you look at the Celtics front office, if you look at most of those people who are there, who have been in the front office, ownership, everything else, those people aren’t of color,” said Maxwell, now a Celtics radio analyst. “So I think it would help the players if they found somebody who they could relate to maybe a little bit more. So that’s why I think it’s very important.”
Maxwell would also like to see Stevens add more diversity to the front office. “I would love to have more diversity in the front office,” Maxwell said. “I’ve said that a thousand times about the Celtics. I think that would definitely help make them a little more relatable maybe to potential free agents, having people of color in the front office.”
Two new head coaching positions have opened in the past week in Portland and Orlando as those two teams parted ways respectively with Terry Stotts and Steve Clifford. Portland is a respected job around the league with an All-Star but the Celtics opening remains the most high sought after opening on the market according to league sources
With that in mind, there's little belief, sources said, that the Celtics' next coach will be an assistant elevated to the top position for the first time. That would theoretically cast a wide net, including respected retreads. The first two names linked to Boston's opening, Jason Kidd and Lloyd Pierce, both led teams previously, and Warriors assistant Mike Brown—formerly a head coach of the Cavaliers and Lakers—is searching for another head coaching opportunity, sources told B/R.
If Boston were to consider a first-time head coach, that pool would likely include former players such as current Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, who despite his inexperience, is widely considered a premier candidate on this summer's NBA coaching market. Among league personnel, Billups has been considered for weeks as Portland's leading candidate to replace Terry Stotts. The former Finals MVP is described as someone who commands each room he enters by his presence and demeanor, equal parts confidence and humility to listen—a similar recipe that landed Steve Nash on Brooklyn's bench prior to this season. If not Billups, 76ers assistant Sam Cassell—another former Celtics point guard—is also considered to be one of the few external first-time head coaches who could receive significant interest for Boston's opening. Cassell, too, is said to command the ears of superstars, such as Paul George and Ben Simmons, who he has mentored over the past few years as an assistant with the Clippers and 76ers.
Further, there was a significant outcry among league personnel pointing to Boston's power shift as just another top job vacancy—lead executive or head coach—to open and close without any interview process at all, let alone one that included conversations with multiple Black personnel. With that, there is a sense around the league that hiring a head coaching candidate who is Black will be a top priority for this position—the circumstances with Danny Ainge saying he'd never heard of racism from Celtics crowds notwithstanding.
There are already several candidates for the Celtics head coaching vacancy. Another coach that will get consideration for the job? Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen.
Stevens and the Celtics hired Allen in 2015, viewing him as someone who could help push the organization forward. Allen has worked closely with many of the Celtics top players over the years, including Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He was responsible for coordinating how the Celtics would attack their opponents’ defensive schemes. The Undefeated earlier reported that Allen was expected to get consideration for the job. A league source confirmed that, saying Allen is among a group of internal candidates who will speak with Stevens.
Tom Westerholm: Brad Stevens is asked about potentially coaching and being in the front office. Wyc Grousbeck interjects: "At the Celtics, that's two separate jobs."
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