Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics
Head Coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat during the second quarter in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Michael Reaves/Getty Images


  • The Boston Celtics are facing an unusual season with several personalities absent once the NBA season starts
  • Joe Mazzulla could go beyond being an interim head coach if he leads the Celtics to a good 2022-23 performance
  • Robert Williams III and Danilo Gallinari's injuries could see the Celtics struggle in the early part of the new NBA season

The Boston Celtics' performance during the 2021-22 season made them the odds-on favorite to win the 2023 title, but the landscape for the team changed dramatically following head coach Ime Udoka's suspension and a spate of player injuries.

The Celtics suspended Udoka for the entire 2022-23 NBA season for allegedly engaging in an inappropriate intimate, consensual relationship with a female Celtics staff member, pulling the rug out from under the organization, CBS Sports reported.

Udoka's suspension came after a months-long investigation by an independent law firm found he allegedly had a "volume of violations" of team policy, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said Friday.

Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over as Boston's interim head coach for the 2022-23 season, The Athletic reported. But if Mazzulla performs well, the future of Udoka as the team's head coach could be in limbo.

Shortly after Udoka's suspension, Boston also got some additional bad news. Robert Williams III had a second surgery on his left knee to reduce the swelling and remove loose bodies, according to an official statement from the Celtics.

The procedure was a success, but Williams will be out for eight to 12 weeks. This means the 24-year-old cager may not be able to play until after Christmas.

Prior to this, Danilo Gallinari also fell prey to the injury bug in Italy's FIBA World Cup qualifier in late August. The Italian tore his ACL and underwent successful left knee revision ACL repair Friday.

No timetable of Gallinari's return to action was provided, with the team stating that updates will be given as appropriate. However, Sports Illustrated suggested that the procedure will likely sideline him for the 2022-23 campaign.

Given these developments, things are bound to be harder for the Celtics. They are expected to continue to rely on Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown for their upcoming campaign.

But if one looks deeper, recall that Brown was a name being mentioned in potential trade rumors that involved Kevin Durant before all of that was spurned by the Brooklyn Nets.

The task of keeping the team together will fall on the shoulders of Mazzulla. If he succeeds, it would raise even more questions – particularly on the future of Udoka as head coach of the Boston Celtics.

Joe Mazzulla
Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics Ethan Miller/Getty Images