Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck said the organization’s decision to suspend Ime Udoka throughout the 2022-23 NBA season comes after an investigation by an independent law firm found multiple violations of team policy.
“I’m concerned about this situation and its impact on everyone in the Celtics organization,” Grossbeck said at a news conference Friday morning at the team’s training ground to discuss the decision to suspend Udoka
“I do hope this represents the beginning of a new chapter, and an opportunity to turn the page and sort things out.”
Both Grossbeck and Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said little about the specifics of the case involved and what policies Udoka violated. Sources previously told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Udoka had a close relationship with a female employee of the team.
Grousbeck said once the group learned of the group’s potential over the past few weeks, it hired an independent law firm to conduct an investigation — which he said closed on Wednesday.
That’s when the team opted to suspend Udoka for the entire season, which Grousbeck said would end on June 30, 2023, the last day of the 2022-23 league year. He also added that there would be “significant” financial penalties and that no one within the group, other than Udoka, would be disciplined as a result of the investigation.
Beyond that, however, neither Grossbeck nor Stevens provided specific details on what happened and how the decision was made, nor did they discuss what it would take for Udoka to return to the organization after the suspension, just Said it would be discussed “at a later date,” as the team said in a statement Thursday night.
Stevens also declined to answer when asked directly if Udoka was able to contact anyone within the organization during the suspension.
Grossbeck did, however, defend the decision to suspend Udoka for the entire season, saying on multiple occasions that it was the “correct” outcome.
“We’re not going into our deliberations,” Grossbeck said. “It feels good, but there are no clear guidelines. It’s conscience and intuition.
“We came here collectively and got there, not knowing what to do, but it was clear that something substantive needed to be done, and it did.”
For his part, Stevens began speaking emotionally about the impact the previous few days had on women across the organization.
“It’s been a tough time,” Stevens said. “The only thing I would say is that I think Wyc has mentioned that we have a lot of talented women in our organization and I think it was really hard for them yesterday.
“No one can control the speculation and rampant bull market on Twitter – but I do think it’s our duty as an organization to support them now because so many people are being unfairly drawn into it.”
“I do hope that this represents the beginning of a new chapter, and an opportunity to turn the page and move on, somewhat resolved.”
Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics owner
Stevens also confirmed assistant coach Joe Mazura will take over on an interim basis. The 34-year-old is now tied with former Celtics assistant and current Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy as the youngest coach in the league, and his only head coaching experience was two spells at Fairmont State in the West Division. season. Virginia, before being hired as an assistant by Stevens in 2019.
Still, Stevens believes Mazuela is the right person to lead the team forward.
“Joe will be in charge,” Stevens said. “It’s not an easy time for him or the rest of the staff. But he’s a very sharp and talented guy. I’m a firm believer in him and his ability to lead people, his ability to inspire a room and support him, and his The ability to organize and understand what it takes to manage a team during the season.”
Stevens was asked if he would consider taking over because he has coached the Celtics for eight years — leading them to the Eastern Conference finals on three separate occasions — before stepping up to his current role last summer. to replace Danny Ainge and hire Udoka to replace him. Stevens immediately said he didn’t — though Grossbeck chimed in to say there was a “brief” conversation between the two about it.
“There are a lot of factors at play why I don’t even want to do it,” Stevens said. “But I do think — I’ve told Joe this — that I’ll be there for him, not as much as possible. stomped on his toes.
“But he doesn’t need much. I’m a firm believer in that.”
Stevens also addressed Mazura’s arrests while he was a college student at West Virginia University — once in 2008 for underage drinking and aggravated assault, in which he pleaded guilty and paid a fine, and then Arrested for domestic assault in 2009 following an incident. Morgantown bar, the case was settled out of court without a trial.
When he hired Marzilla as an assistant coach in 2019, Stevens said he “thoroughly” reviewed Marzilla, especially those events, and said he believed Marzilla had learned from them, Stevens said. I also believe in Mazura’s character.
“I’ll tell you this: I’m a firm believer in Joe’s substance as a person,” Stevens said. “I firmly believe that he will tell you that he has been very open to me about how those moments affect him in various ways, and you can see it in his behavior. You can see it for a long time. We’ve had I’ve known him for years.
“I’m a firm believer that this probably shaped him in a very, very good way. But he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s 110% responsible for it, and I’ll be the first Tell your man I believe him.”
Grossbeck said he and Stevens both met with players ahead of training camp starting next week, and said he would describe their feelings as being “very worried” about what happened.
“It’s not a welcome development,” Grossbeck said.
“But I feel like they also have the energy and focus and commitment and drive to really accomplish great things this season. So that’s the commitment I feel from the players and I bet, based on last year, based on everything we know About them, I think we’ll be satisfied.”