2022 Boston Celtics media day was always going to be surrounded by the ominous absence of head coach Ime Udoka — who led the Cs to the NBA Finals in his first season in charge but was suspended for the entire 2022-23 season for team conduct policy violations.
Specifically, Udoka was banished for the next year regarding his role in an intimate relationship with a female member of the franchise’s staff. His fiancée Nia Long was an actress who starred in Boyz n the Hood and Diff’rent Strokes in the 1980s and 1990s, making this all that more of a spectacle in the public sphere.
Udoka’s ouster is one that hurts the team’s immediate chances of contending, considering interim head coach Joe Mazzulla may never garner the respect of the roster quite as Udoka did out of the gates. What hurts the Boston Celtics, even more, is the fact that they didn’t even keep their players informed about what happened over the summer.
Jayson Tatum’s answer to Boston Globe National NBA writer Gary Washburn’s question about when he found out is indicative of serious internal issues in the Boston Celtics organization that start from the top down (WARNING – NSFW LANGUAGE):
Jayson Tatum’s 2022 Boston Celtics media day comments cast a dark shadow on his future
LeBron James famously calls the shots for every team he is on, and even Luka Doncic could have a say in the Dallas Mavericks organization, but chose not to play the rule of ‘recruiter’ according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
That Jayson Tatum didn’t even hear about his head coach being suspended for the entire year until he checked his Twitter and saw Adrian Wojnarowski irresponsibly reporting on the matter is damning for the team’s chances to re-sign him in the summer of 2025.
Winning is a cure-all, and Tatum has certainly been treated better by the organization than his co-star Jaylen Brown, who was dangled in Kevin Durant trade talks all summer after being the team’s best player during the 2022 NBA Finals. But losing could make this already tenuous situation worse.