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Boston Celtics Suspend Coach Ime Udoka For Entire NBA Season

Boston Celtics Suspend Coach Ime Udoka For Entire NBA Season

The Boston Celtics suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 NBA season on Thursday for “violations of team policies”.

“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the team said in a statement.

“The suspension takes effect immediately.”

The Celtics did not specify what Udoka’s policy violations were.

ESPN and The Athletic reported that the 45-year-old Nigerian-American had a consensual relationship with a female member of the Celtics staff that broke the franchise’s code of conduct.

The punishment, among the harshest ever issued to an NBA head coach, comes with the Celtics’ pre-season training camp due to open next week.

In a statement obtained by ESPN, Udoka said he accepted the Celtics’ decision.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision.

“Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”

Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will step in as interim coach for the 2022-23 campaign, ESPN reported.

Udoka’s top assistant last season, Will Hardy, departed in June to become coach of the Utah Jazz.

Udoka replaced Brad Stevens as coach last season after Stevens was promoted to president of basketball operations following the departure of Danny Ainge.

Udoka played seven seasons in the NBA, the last four with San Antonio before his playing career ended in 2011.

He had stints as an assistant coach with San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn before taking charge of the Celtics in June 2021 and had an impressive debut season.

Under Udoka’s guidance, Boston developed the top defense in the NBA and closed last season on a 28-7 run.

They beat the star-studded Brooklyn Nets in the first round, then ousted the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in the second round.

They dispatched the Miami Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

They fell in six games to the Golden State Warriors in the championship series in June, but players were full of praise for Udoka.

“When you have a coach who’s willing to hold you accountable, and not just you but everyone on the team the same way, that’s how you know you have the makings of a great coach who’s trying to get somewhere special,” Boston’s Marcus Smart said during the NBA Finals.

– NBA scandals –

The turmoil adds uncertainty to the upcoming Celtics’ campaign after what had been an encouraging off-season that included the acquisition of Malcolm Brogdon and veteran free agent Danilo Gallinari.

Gallinari tore a ligament in his left knee playing for Italy in a Basketball World Cup qualifier in August and will miss the season.

Celtics Center Rob Williams is expected to miss the start of the season after knee surgery.

The affair is also another scandal for the NBA as the October 18 start of the season approaches.

Embattled Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, banned for a year and fined $10 million by the NBA for racist misogynist remarks and workplace bullying, said Wednesday he will sell the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

That announcement came after NBA stars including the Suns Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James denounced the NBA punishment meted out to Sarver as too lenient.

Sarver also came under pressure from sponsors, with Suns backer PayPal saying it would not renew its deal with the team if Sarver returned after his suspension.

-AFP

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Sports

Qatar 2022: Spain Sacks Manager, Enrique After Quarter Final Ouster

Spain sacked coach Luis Enrique on Thursday after the 2010 champions were dumped out of the World Cup by Morocco at the last-16 stage earlier this week.

“Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sporting director, Jose Francisco Molina, have told the coach their decision,” the Spanish FA said in a statement.

The federation said they wanted to thank Luis Enrique and his staff for their work, but had decided to start a “new project”.

“The sporting direction of the RFEF has given the president a report, in which it was determined that a new project should start for the national team, with the objective of continuing the growth achieved in the last few years thanks to Luis Enrique and his colleagues,” added the RFEF.

Spain hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game in Qatar but suffered a shock defeat by Japan that resulted in a second-place finish in Group E.

Spain were strong favourites to beat Morocco in the first knockout round but lost 3-0 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 following extra time.

“We dominated the game but we lacked a goal,” lamented Luis Enrique after the game.

“We could have been more effective in the final third, but I am more than satisfied with what my players did.

“They represented perfectly what my idea of football is.”

Spain last lifted a major trophy a decade ago at Euro 2012, while they have not won a single knockout game at the World Cup since triumphing in South Africa in 2010.

Luis Enrique took over in 2018 after Spain’s disappointing Russian World Cup showing, and led La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020, where they were also beaten on penalties by Italy.

(AFP)

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Sports

A Final Farewell: Hazard Retires From International Football

Real Madrid star, Eden Hazard has retired from international duty.

The Belgium forward made the decision after his nation’s exit from the World Cup at the group stage.

Belgium finished third in Group F, beating Canada in their opening game before losing to Morocco and then drawing with Croatia.

Hazard, 31, played in all three games but did not score for his country.

Hazard expressed gratitude to all his teammates and coaches, adding that “the succession is ready. I will miss you”.

Hazard played his peak years at Chelsea football club, leading the club to several honours before joining Real Madrid in a Multimillion deal.

However, an injury-plagued career at the Spanish giants, coupled with limited playing time has forced him to the rear of the limelight over the past three seasons.

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Qatar 2023: “I Was Provoked” Samuel Etoo Apologizes For Assaulting Algerian Fan

Samuel Eto’o Fills,  President of the Cameroon Football Federation, has apologised for physically assaulting a man at the World Cup on Monday.

In a statement on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, Eto’o said he was provoked by a fan who was “probably” an Algeria supporter as part of an ongoing harassment following Cameroon’s qualifying win over Algeria in March.

Part of his apology read, “After the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter.

“I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.”

Algeria filed a complaint over the performance of the referee in the qualifying play-off in Blida on March 28, in which Cameroon’s Karl Toko Ekambi scored the winner with the last kick of the match.

 

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