Ime Udoka appears destined to be the next head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, a prediction Stephen A. Smith alluded to last month on First Take.
With the franchise in complete disarray led by a 2-5 start on the court and Kyrie Irving’s promotion of an antisemitic film off the court, the Nets relieved Steve Nash of his head coaching duties just seven games into the season. Shortly after that news was announced Tuesday afternoon, Udoka quickly emerged as a lead candidate to fill the void, despite the fact that the former Nets assistant was recently suspended by the Boston Celtics for having an affair with a female subordinate.
Last month, Stephen A. Smith made a similar prediction on First Take, claiming it’s possible the Celtics chose to give Udoka a season-long suspension rather than fire him as a way of maintaining control over the coach to keep him from returning to the Nets.
“I believe part of the reason he was suspended, but not fired, is because the Boston Celtics did not want him to end up in Brooklyn,” Smith said on Oct. 18. “I believe that Ime Udoka, had he gotten fired, with all the stuff that happened — remember, the operative words were ‘consensual relationship, violation of organization policy.’ So because it’s that, it’s about your behavior, which we don’t endorse, as opposed to a crime.
“And because there was nothing that was put out there that said it was a crime, I believe that if Ime Udoka had been fired by the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets would’ve fired Steve Nash and brought that brother back and he would be the coach for the Brooklyn Nets right now. That’s how emphatic I feel about this.”
While Smith now looks correct about the Nets desire to replace Nash with Udoka, he appears to be incorrect about the Celtics wanting to keep their suspended head coach from Brooklyn. With the Nets floundering and desperate to keep Kevin Durant happy, the team didn’t wait for Udoka to become available before deciding to move on from Nash. And according to a report from NBA Insider Chris Haynes, the Celtics will not seek compensation from the Nets for Udoka.
Six weeks ago, the thought of Udoka leaving Boston for Brooklyn on the heels of leading the Celtics to an NBA Finals appearance would have seemed impossible. Currently, it just seems tone-deaf. With controversy circling the Nets and Kyrie Irving, asking a coach who was just suspended for having an affair with a subordinate to right the ship is an odd decision.