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Celtics head coach Ime Udoka's fiancé Nia Long 'was BLINDSIDED by his affair with a female staffer'

Nia Long, the fiancée of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, was reportedly shocked by her relationship with a member of the team's staff, resulting in her one-year suspension, despite the club's he had confronted him with his research months ago.

Nia Long, the fiancée of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, was reportedly shocked by her relationship with a member of the team’s staff, resulting in her one-year suspension, despite the club’s he had confronted him with his research months ago.

Long, the 51-year-old former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star, had moved to the Boston area two weeks ago with the couple’s 10-year-old son and had recently been house hunting with Udoka, according to TMZ.

He was reportedly unaware of the allegations until the last few days, even though the Celtics had been looking into the matter with Udoka’s knowledge for months, TMZ reports.

Now, through his spokeswoman, Long asks for privacy.

“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and community during this difficult time means the world to me,” Long told TMZ through her spokesperson. ‘I ask that my privacy be respected as I process recent events. Above all, I am a mother and I will continue to focus on my children.’

Udoka, the Celtics’ second-year head coach with an excellent reputation, was suspended for the entire upcoming season Thursday for “multiple” unspecified violations of team rules. He also suffered a “significant financial penalty.”

Reports say the 45-year-old had an inappropriate but consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff, but that hardly explains why Udoka is sidelined for 2022-23, and potentially longer. In the team statement that named assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim coach, Boston said Udoka’s future would be determined “at a later date.”

Nia Long, the fiancée of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, was reportedly shocked by her relationship with a member of the team's staff, resulting in her one-year suspension, despite the club's he had confronted him with his research months ago.

Nia Long, the fiancée of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, was reportedly shocked by her relationship with a member of the team’s staff, resulting in her one-year suspension, despite the club’s he had confronted him with his research months ago.

Udoka guided the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season as the team's head coach.

Udoka guided the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season as the team’s head coach.

The situation is perplexing, not only because Boston is letting go of a coach who guided the team to the NBA Finals in his first season, but also because the Celtics have turned a seemingly private and supposedly consensual relationship into a public affair. something that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has taken over on Friday.

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“My problem is that his personal business gets advertised all over the airways,” Smith said, while questioning why a suspension was necessary.

Celtics legend Paul Pierce also argued on Twitter that Udoka’s punishment “should just be a fine, not a suspension.”

The Athletic raised questions about the relationship Thursday night, reporting that the woman accused Udoka of making “unwelcome comments” to her, prompting the Celtics to release internal interviews that ultimately led to his suspension.

Complicating matters further is Udoka’s shady relationship with Long.

A report, from Bally Sports, claims the pair were ‘separated before the current issue’, but the two appeared to be on good terms in May, when the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air tweeted a video of her dancing in celebration. since her Celtics qualified for the Finals.

Then there was Udoka’s own statement on Thursday, which made a cryptic reference to disappointing his loved ones: “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down.”

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce said the Udoka should be fined and not suspended

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce said the Udoka should be fined and not suspended

The Celtics were poised to open training camp Tuesday as a logical favorite to reach the Finals once again, and potentially contend for an NBA-record 18th championship.

Instead, Boston now grapples with questions of leadership, while Udoka struggles to save his once-promising career.

Udoka’s career, thus far, had been a story of perseverance.

He wasn’t blessed with great physical gifts, but his love of the game and his 6-foot-6 height provided a solid foundation growing up in Portland, where he eventually befriended future NBA star and his assistant with the Celtics, Damon Stoudemire. .

“Growing up, one of the things that used to motivate me to get to the NBA was whatever my teammates did, I was going to do the opposite,” Udoka told The Athletic in April. ‘Is everyone partying? Kicking? Hanging out? I’m going to open a gym. I didn’t go to the prom. I didn’t go to graduation. I was in the gym.’

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He played at three colleges before graduating from Portland State University and eventually beginning his professional NBDL career with the Charleston Lowgators.

Brief stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, French teams, and G-League teams followed, before Udoka began to see more action with the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, and eventually the San Antonio Spurs.

It was in San Antonio, under coach Gregg Popovich, that Udoka became a dependable perimeter defender.

“My thing was to always think about the game,” said Udoka. “And if you can’t do that, you’ll outperform your more skilled opponent by being physically and mentally stronger.”

After briefly playing for Sacramento and then returning to San Antonio, Udoka received one of the most coveted coaching jobs as an assistant to Popovich.

The two would go on to win an NBA title together in 2014, and Udoka would soon embody Popovich’s coaching spirit.

“He assimilated with the Pop philosophy,” an NBA executive told the New York Post in 2020. “Udoka is a very impulsive person, meticulous, hard on himself. He is a perfectionist.

Popovich gushed over his protégé in 2015, telling ESPN, “He exudes confidence and comfort in his own skin where people just gravitate toward him.”

Coach Pop also gave Udoka a compliment by joking that he is a teetotaler.

“The only thing I don’t like about him is that he doesn’t drink, so I can’t enjoy a glass of wine with him,” Popovich said. He is very boring at dinner.

Udoka quickly became one of the top assistant coaching prospects in the NBA, landing prestigious jobs on the benches of the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, before being hired by former Celtics head coach turned president Brad Stevens. in Boston before the 2021-22 season.

At the time, Udoka’s former colleague Kirk Goldsberry tweeted that Boston made a “great hire.”

Initial yields, however, were not good.

Despite the presence of All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston struggled for much of the first half of Udoka’s first season and hovered around .500 until January, when players began taking their lessons to heart. finish the regular season, 51-31.

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“It definitely set the tone,” Celtics guard Payton Pritchard told The Athletic. ‘That’s Ime to a T. That’s what we needed.’

The Celtics then swept the first round of the playoffs, sweeping the hated Nets in four games before hard-fought seven-game series wins over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat.

Despite the six-game loss in the NBA Finals to the Warriors, Udoka’s stock couldn’t have been higher entering the offseason. A young coach coming off a Finals appearance in his first season was likely looking for a significant raise in a renegotiated contract, Smith said Friday.

“That means he was in a position to triple his salary,” Smith said.

But for all the positivity created by Udoka’s first year as Celtics head coach, the Celtics have faced one hurdle after another in the offseason.

Free-agent acquisition Danilo Gallinari tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee over the summer, and earlier this week it was revealed that starting center Robert Williams would need arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee. Williams is expected to miss four to six weeks, but Gallinari could be out much longer.

More pressing is the situation facing Mazzulla, a relatively unknown number heading into the season.

The former head coach at Division II Fairmont State, Mazzulla is a local kid, hailing from Rhode Island. He played collegiately with Bob Huggins in West Virginia, where he was once suspended for domestic battery in 2009.

Now 34, Mazzulla is expected to be the answer in Boston, even though he’s only scheduled to have the job for next season.

“Joe is going to be in. It’s not an easy time for him or the rest of the staff,” Celtics president Brad Stevens said at Friday’s news conference. “But he is an exceptionally sharp and talented person and I strongly believe in him and his ability to lead people, his ability to liven up a room and support him and his ability to organize and understand everything that goes into running a team during a season”. He has very good results on the husband staff.

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