Fired former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka will be a highly sought-after coaching target during the upcoming offseason according to Heavy’s Steve Bullpett, who reported that several teams were vetting the 45-year-old after his recent talks with the Hawks. Atlanta had fired Nate McMillan midseason but instead went with Quinn Snyder as their replacement.
Being that the Hawks were the second franchise — the first was the Nets back in November after firing Steve Nash — to mull over Udoka as a midseason coaching replacement, it’s evident the former defending Eastern Conference championship coach is still in high demand.
Who would hire Udoka, though?
The Clippers could hire another former Boston Celtics coach
The Clippers have had Ty Lue as head coach since 2020, and during that time, L.A. has made the conference finals and lost during the NBA Play-in. Currently, Lue has the Clippers in contention for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but what happens if they don’t win a series?
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George aren’t getting younger. The team has limited cap space. If there isn’t a step forward this postseason, it’s not impossible to imagine Los Angeles rolling the dice with another former Celtics coach after Doc Rivers brought the team playoff stability during his seven seasons in Tinseltown.
Kyrie Irving ties could make Ime Udoka a strategic hire
Dallas may start getting desperate in the offseason as it looks to placate Luka Doncic. The Mavericks don’t look primed for a postseason run through the west, and Kyrie Irving could be a flight-risk to the Lakers.
Udoka could be a strategic hire aimed at keeping Irving in a Mavs uniform given the ties between the player and the coach from their shared days in Brooklyn. Udoka was an assistant on Steve Nash’s staff.
Ime Udoka could make all the headlines in New York
Udoka has experience in New York City from his Nets days — and he seemed to be able to avoid being caught in rumors during his Brooklyn stint –, so one must figure he’d have interest if the Knicks came calling with a job offer.
Tom Thibodeau has New York playing well of late, but another early postseason exit could spell doom for the Connecticut native who first made a name for himself with the Boston Celtics organization under Rivers. Udoka would be a sensational replacement who’d garner plenty of headlines coaching in the New York market, but he is proven and could likely move the needle forward for the Knicks.