Celtics

Brad Stevens and Wyc Grousbeck said the investigation revealed that the head coach had repeatedly violated the team’s policy.

Brad Stevens and Wyc Grousbeck addressed the media on Friday. John Tlumacki / Global Staff

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and basketball operations president Brad Stevens first addressed the media on Friday since they suspended coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season.

At the press conference, Grousbeck glanced at the timeline between the summer when they first learned of Udoka’s relationship with a Celtics employee, prompting the club to open an investigation. The investigation, which Grousbeck said was conducted by an independent party, lasted several weeks and ended on Wednesday. Grousbeck said it was revealed that Udoka has repeatedly violated the team’s rules of conduct, leading to a one-year suspension announced Thursday night.

Here’s what we learned from the Friday press conference.

The case was investigated by a private law firm.

In his introductory statement, Grousbeck said he could not say what exactly happened to Udoka for “privacy reasons”, referring to the band’s statement on Thursday, which he called “quite crisp”.

“As soon as we learned there was a potential situation, we immediately invited a reputable law firm to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation,” said Grousbeck. “It took them a while. We actually closed this investigation with a report two days ago, so that’s the reason we have time here.

Grousbeck indicated the investigation took place at least a few weeks before closing on Wednesday.

“The investigation had several twists and turns,” said Grousbeck. It took some time to work out all the facts. It’s finally over – so far everything ended two days ago.

Grousbeck denied that the Celtics had leaked details of the investigation results Wednesday and Thursday.

How the Celtics decided to suspend Udoka for the season:

When it was first reported that Udoka had a voluntary, intimate relationship with a Celtics employee, some people – for example a former Celtics player Paul Pierce – they were surprised by the length of the suspension.

Grousbeck explained why he thought Udoka must at least be suspended.

“As a group and with external advisors – a diverse group, actually – we have considered people’s decisions, for which I take responsibility at Celtics, all that has been decided,” said Grousbeck. “Personally, I think it is justified and appropriate, supported by reliable research and evidence and facts. I stand by this decision, and Ime has accepted it. He appreciated it and I don’t want to talk about it, but he accepts it and plans to move forward on that basis. “

When reports of Udoka’s behavior surfaced, some questioned why the Celtics decided to suspend him instead of firing him. Grousbeck said why he opted for a suspension for the time being.

“It was right, but there are no clear guidelines for it,” said Grousbeck. It is really a conscience and a gut feeling and being here for 20 years. Ultimately, I am responsible for this decision, but I used a lot of advice from partners like Brad and others, and together we got there and we got there. It was not clear what to do. But in my opinion, it was clear that something important had to be done – and it was. ‘

The future of Udoka and her team is uncertain.

Grousbeck said Udoka’s suspension will last until June 30, 2023, the last day of the NBA 2022-23 calendar year. There is no guarantee Udoka will return to Boston that day.

“We will then make a decision about Ime’s future with us, which will be discussed another time and not yet made,” said Grousbeck.

Grousbeck mentioned the financial consequences of Udoka’s suspension.

“A suspension comes with a very significant penalty when you eliminate everything,” said Grousbeck. “This is an accurate statement. A very significant financial penalty. “

Celtics players were “concerned” with this issue

Neither Celtics player has commented on Udoka’s suspension, but Grousbeck has opened the curtain a bit after a conversation he and Stevens had on the subject.

“I would say they’re very concerned overall,” said Grousbeck. “This is not a welcome development. I also felt they had the energy, focus, commitment and a drive to achieve some really great things this season. This is the commitment I feel to the players.

Stevens said he understands if any players are upset that Udoka is not on the team this season.

“There was a real relationship with a lot of guys,” said Stevens. “Right – they had an amazing year last year. They had a personal connection. There is concern both ways. Human beings are human beings, that’s what it will be like. To think that the guys on the team, coaches or anyone else in the organization can just come back on the pitch and everything is fine is not what it is.

“It’s a really tough situation, but we’ll be focused on the future.”

Stevens was thrilling as he stood up for the women of the Celtics squad.

In his opening statement, Stevens shared his concern about how social media speculated about the situation.

“We have a lot of talented women in our organization and I thought yesterday was really hard for them,” said Stevens, standing up a little. “I don’t think anyone can control the raging speculation on Twitter [expletive]but I think we as an organization have a responsibility to be there and support them now because many people have been pulled unfairly into it. “

Grousbeck shared a similar concern.

“It is unfortunate that female Celtics staff members have been drawn into the public eye reluctantly and inappropriately. We are doing it decisively and we regret it for them. ”

Joe Mazzulla has been confirmed as interim deputy.

Stevens confirmed reports that Mazzulla will replace Udoka for the 2022-23 season.

“It’s not an easy time for him or the rest of the staff, but he is an exceptionally bright and talented person,” said Stevens. “I deeply believe in him and his ability to lead people and his ability to galvanize a room and keep them behind him. Also his ability to organize and understand what comes with leading a team during the season.

“It’s a really good group,” added Stevens from the coaching staff. “They will have to connect. They will have to support each other. “

Stevens rejected all ideas of him being a coach.

Stevens had eight successful seasons as a Celtics coach before joining the front office a year ago. But he didn’t think about going back to the bench.

“Joe is the best choice to do this – in the long run,” said Stevens.

What if the Celtics who aspire to the championship don’t perform as well as they would like?

“Absolutely not,” Stevens said.

“There are many factors at stake, I wouldn’t necessarily want to do that,” added Stevens.

Grousbeck, however, seemed open to the idea of ​​Stevens returning to the bench.

“We had a brief conversation,” Grousbeck said.

Grousbeck later spoke approvingly of Mazzulla.

Stevens said he “very carefully” checked Mazzulla’s past misdemeanors before hiring him as an assistant in 2019.

Shortly after it was announced that Mazzulla would be the Celtics interim coach, news surfaced of Mazzulla’s arrest and charges during his time in West Virginia (where he played for the 2006-11 basketball team).

Stevens said he has known Mazzulla since the latter joined the Maine Red Claws coaching staff in 2016.

“When we were considering hiring him as an assistant, I checked that and incidents while he was in college, really thoroughly,” said Stevens. “Let me tell you this: I believe in the essence of Joe as a person. I strongly believe. He was very open with me about how those moments affected him in every way. You can see it in the way it is worn. “

Stevens believes Mazzulla has grown a lot since then.

“You’ve probably seen articles written at the time that I must have read three years ago before hiring him as an assistant,” said Stevens. “I firmly believe that he has probably been shaped by who he is today, in a really, really good way. He will be the first to tell you that he is 110 percent responsible for it. I’ll be the first to tell you I believe him.

Stevens seemed open to the idea of ​​adding another coach to the staff.

With one coach leaving, it would make sense to add another Celtics coach to the staff. Stevens was open to the idea when asked on Friday.

“We didn’t get into a lot of discussions about adding staff,” said Stevens. “It seems to me that the staff checks many boxes as is. There may be an add-on.

Illustrated sport“Chris Mannix” named Frank Vogel as someone who could potentially be added to the staff.

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