The Boston Celtics are finalizing an agreement to hire Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka as their new coach, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Udoka spent the 2020-21 season on Steve Nash’s staff with the Nets. Prior to that, he spent one season with the Philadelphia 76ers and seven years under coach Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.
The 43-year-old Udoka received strong reviews from Celtics players who played for the U.S. national team in the 2019 World Cup tournament, sources said, when Udoka also served as an assistant under Popovich. That separated Udoka quickly as new Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens sought his replacement, according to Wojnarowski.
Udoka will take over a roster that traded away Kemba Walker last week. Stevens said Monday that the move, which brought Al Horford back to Boston and added center Moses Brown, was made to maximize the talents of All-Star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Before his coaching career, Udoka played seven seasons in the NBA in stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Spurs. His most productive campaign came with the Trail Blazers in 2006-07, when he started 75 games and averaged 8.4 points and 3.7 rebounds.