Fired ex-Boston Celtics coach made 'gross miscalculation' last offseason, costing new team greatly

Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers
Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Fired former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka cost his new team, the Houston Rockets, greatly in deciding not to make a move for James Harden in the offseason -- settling for signing Fred VanVleet to an above-market contract instead --, writes The Houston Chronicle's Brandon Scott.

Scott called the point guard decision a "gross miscalculation."

"With first-year head coach Ime Udoka helping transition the Rockets into the next phase of their rebuild, he decided veteran point guard Fred VanVleet was a better fit for the team than James Harden," Scott prefaced before saying, "This was a gross miscalculation, no matter how much you respect VanVleet's game (which you should), or how much you resent Harden (also understandable)."

Scott fantasized about a Harden-Alperen Sengun pick-and-roll; something that could've bouyed the Rockets' offense instead Jalen Green heat checks.

"Instead of relying on magical shooting nights from Jalen Green, which have been sporadic at best, substitute Harden for VanVleet operating the pick-and-roll with Alperen Sengun and you have a much more potent attack," Scott wrote.

Ime Udoka takes ownership of his Boston Celtics suspension and firing

Udoka didn't get fired for his on-court performance. Quite the opposite. He led the Celtics to their first Finals appearance in over a decade in 2022 but was caught in an off-court romance with a female member of the organization and was deemed unable to be retained because of it.

Udoka owned up to his role in his suspension, and eventual firing, from the Cs.

“Yeah, I mean, honestly my part in it was to take ownership and accountability for my part,” Udoka said during an April 26 press conference. “They had a choice to make a decision, and they went that route. My thing was own up to it, take responsibility, and I served the suspension. I had to own it honestly. Same thing that I preach to the guys. I can’t sit here and not take accountability myself.”

That VanVleet gamble, or that he had the choice to land Harden but refused to, may be the mistake he has to own should his Rockets tenure go south for on-court reasons.