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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Celtics Coach Ime Udoka Facing ‘Significant’ Financial Penalty

  • Celtics CEO won’t say if his season-long suspension is paid or unpaid.
  • But ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith speculated he could lose half his salary.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Embattled Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka will be punished with a “significant financial penalty” as part of his one-year suspension, team officials announced Friday.

Celtics chief executive officer Wyc Grousbeck declined to specify whether Udoka’s suspension for the NBA’s 2022-23 was paid or unpaid.  

But he made clear during a Friday press conference that the coach will be taking a financial hit for violating franchise rules by having an inappropriate relationship with a female team employee.  

On Friday’s edition of “First Take,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith speculated the 45-year-old coach could lose up to half his salary. 

Also during the show, Smith got into a heated debate with ESPN colleague Malika Andrews about the scandal.

“Stephen A., with all due respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop!,” declared Andrews at the top of the segment.

Smith took umbrage when Andrews interrupted his point. “Excuse me. I listened to you. You’re the one telling me to stop on my own show. It ain’t happening.”  

The Celtics have not commented on Udoka’s compensation. But as a first-year head coach, he’s probably at the low end of the compensation range among the NBA’s 30 head coaches (an estimated $3 million per year).

According to NBC Sports, the highest-paid coaches in the NBA all had far more experience and championship rings:

1) Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs ($11.5M).

2) Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors ($9.5M). 

3) Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Eric Spoelstra, Miami Heat (both $8.5M).

4) Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks, and Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors (both $8M).

In his first season, Udoka led the Celtics to an Eastern Conference title and a berth in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, where they lost 4-2.

With Udoka on the bench, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will lead the storied franchise. But Mazzulla’s has issues of his own stemming from a 2009 arrest for domestic battery.

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