The Celtics Are Apparently All In On Joe Mazzulla
Don’t expect Ime Udoka on the Celtics sidelines ever again. The Celtics are ALL IN on interim coach, Joe Mazzulla. So much so that they plan on making Mazzulla the head coach even if the official announcement comes after the season. With the Celtics 12-3 and at the top of the Eastern Conference, Boston feels comfortable enough with Mazzulla to move in that direction full time.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (video link) the following on SportsCenter (hat tip to RealGM).
“Everything is aligned and in place for Joe Mazzulla to be the long-term coach for the Boston Celtics, except for one thing: Ime Udoka is technically still the head coach of the Boston Celtics, on suspension,” said Wojnarowski. “For all intents and purposes, he has coached his last game in Boston. This is uncharted territory, certainly. Unless Ime Udoka takes another job this season elsewhere, it still may be an interim label until the end of the year.
“Mazzulla has handled this very well. He has a locker room of key players who were very fond of Udoka and still very fond of him. (Mazzulla) has certainly navigated that. He had his own relationships. You have seen him command the respect of this group, but how this team has performed. Continuing at a very high level.
“There’s every indication that interim status will eventually leave and he’ll be on a long-term deal as the Celtics’ coach, but it may not be until after the season.”
Thus far, the Celtics haven’t really skipped a beat without Udoka. Of course, the real measuring stick for this Celtics team will come this postseason. A team that hasn’t won that elusive banner 18 yet and hasn’t lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy since 2008.
The only real question here is if it’s fair to question if Will Hardy would have gotten the job if the Udoka suspension had come sooner. Mazzulla is 6 months younger than the new Jazz head coach. Both guys appear to be like home run hires but we’ll see how long it lasts.