Celtics officially hire former Nets assistant Ime Udoka as new coach

Ime Udoka during his tenure with the 76ers. (Chris Szagola/AP)

The Boston Celtics have officially hired former Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka as the franchise's new head coach.

Udoka played a total of 316 games over seven seasons with five NBA teams before retiring in 2012 and joining Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio as an assistant coach. He was with the Spurs for seven seasons, including in 2013-14, when they won the NBA title. Udoka joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019 and was with the Nets last year.

"It's an honour to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise," the new coach said via a team release. "Coaching this talented roster and working alongside Brad (Stevens) makes it an ideal situation."

The 43-year-old takes over a Celtics team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the previous four seasons before plummeting to the No. 7 seed this year and losing in the first round to Brooklyn. After the five-game loss to the Nets, basketball boss Danny Ainge retired and coach Brad Stevens gave up his spot on the bench to replace him.

"Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility, and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach," said Stevens, via a release.

"He's a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18."

— With files from The Associated Press

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