Courtesy of Paul Kasabian, Bleacher Report
The Houston Rockets have reached a deal with former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka to become the team’s next head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Houston parted ways with Stephen Silas after three seasons when it decided against picking up the fourth year on his contract. He went 59-177 in those three seasons.
The Rockets are in the midst of a significant rebuild. They have a host of talented but inexperienced players who haven’t been able to mesh well on the court just yet.
Still, the talent is evident in Jalen Green, Tari Eason, Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Şengün and others. They will also get a high lottery pick in this year’s draft.
The issue is molding that talent and getting the best out of this Rockets team. It’ll be up to Udoka to get that done as Houston looks to find a semblance of success in the post-James Harden era.
The Rockets began this new phase after dealing Harden, who led Houston to eight straight playoff appearances before requesting (and getting) a trade to the Brooklyn Nets in January 2021. The team is now looking to move forward, and Udoka will play a big part in that.
Udoka has one year of head coaching experience from his time with the 2021-22 Boston Celtics, which rebounded from a 25-25 start to finish 26-6 before rolling to the NBA Finals, where they fell to the Golden State Warriors.
In September, the Celtics suspended Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season after a months-long investigation revealed multiple violations of team policies. The Celtics did not reveal those violations, but a source told Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press that it stemmed from an inappropriate relationship with a woman within the organization.
Boston gave the interim coach tag to Joe Mazzulla, who is now the team’s full-time head coach. Meanwhile, Udoka will aim to replicate his past success in Houston.