An independent law firm’s investigation into Boston Celtics coach Amy Odoka found that he used vulgar language in his conversation with a subordinate before beginning an inappropriate workplace relationship with the woman, an element that significantly affected the seriousness of his first year. Sources told ESPN.
These investigative findings – which described verbiage on the part of Odoka in particular regarding his coming from a superior workplace – contribute to what is likely to be a difficult path back to his position as Celtics coach in 2023, sources told ESPN.
The sources said the power dynamic associated with the president’s improper relationship with an employee was the primary result and policy violation mentioned in the law firm’s report, which was commissioned by Celtics and completed early last week.
At a press conference last week, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck said the suspension — which runs through June 30, 2023 — was the result of multiple violations of team policies, and sources told ESPN that Celtics wouldn’t stand in Udoka’s way if he had a chance to become a candidate to train elsewhere. Sources told ESPN that teams have tried to gather a preliminary understanding of the full explanation of Udoka’s suspension in preparation for his possible evaluation of a future coaching job.
Grosbeek also said that Odoka will receive a reduction in his salary during the suspension period.
In his first season, Odoka, 45, led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference championship and the NBA Finals berth, losing Boston in six games to the Golden State Warriors. The Celtics have brought back a team expected once again to be the tournament favourite, and Odoka looked destined for a long run as the franchise coach after replacing Brad Stevens, who moved into the front office position previously held by Danny Aing during the 2021 season.
Grosbeek said during the press conference that no one else within the organization had been disciplined as a result of the investigation. The Celtics wouldn’t confirm the nature of the violations, but Stevens, head of basketball’s operations team, got emotional when describing the number of women working on the Celtics team who have been targeted by rumors and baseless allegations on social media.
The Celtics have promoted assistant coach Joe Mazzola to interim coach for next season. Mazzulla, 34, is well respected both within and outside the Celtics organization and counts Stevens among his most important supporters. Matsula was one of the finalists for the head coach position at the Utah Jazz during the summer that he took over as Celtics assistant Will Hardy.
Grosbeek and Stevens did not explain what criteria Odoka would need to meet to return to Celtics training after the suspension.
Grosbeek has defended the Celtics’ decision to suspend Odoka for the entire season, insisting it was the appropriate response based on the findings of the investigation.
“It felt right,” he said, “but there are no clear guidelines for any of this.” “It’s a sense of conscience and membrane … We just came to this collectively and got there but it wasn’t clear what to do but it was clear that there was something substantive to be done, and it was.”
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.
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