New Rockets coach Ime Udoka told reporters that facing “adversity” will help him “become a better coach and leader,” as he was officially presented by Houston on Wednesday.
- The former Celtics coach, who was suspended by the team for the 2022-23 season, said he stands by the statement he issued in September about the situation and feels “more remorse ” NOW. Discipline was the result of Udoka having an intimate relationship with a female member of the Boston organization, Athleticism reported.
- Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said the NBA is “very comfortable” with Houston making Udoka its coach. “We are a forgiving world. And whoever does not forgive, then shame on them,” Fertitta added.
- When it comes to priorities on the pitch, Udoka said everyone is aligned on “what they’re trying to accomplish”.
THE AthleticInstant analysis of:
How did Udoka approach the suspension?
It was a moment everyone around the Celtics and the NBA had been waiting for. After Boston executives avoided addressing anything substantive about the situation at their press conference when the scandal broke, there was a chance that Udoka and the Rockets could do the same.
But Udoka hit many of the points necessary to establish his truthfulness as a transparent and accountable leader. He described many things he did behind the scenes while on suspension to fix things in his life. He reiterated that he accepts that Boston has the right to part with him and that it is up to him to take ownership of his actions, saying he cannot sit here today and not take responsibility.
The main shortcoming was in his introductory remarks, when he referenced the written statement he released in late September saying he had apologized to players, fans, the organization and his family for let them down. Udoka went on to explain that he had apologized to many people in his life and felt more remorse now, but he did not repeat the specific and basic words of his written statement on his first occasion. to address the public. The women of the Celtics organization, who were unfairly dragged into the scandal, deserved a blunt apology on camera, but they just received the written statement.
In the end, Udoka painted a picture of someone who was sorry and worked to make things better for co-workers, friends and family. The Rockets were ready to back that up. There are understandable legal and privacy reasons why Udoka wouldn’t just tell everyone his side of the story. But while he protects himself and others directly involved, it comes at a cost to others affected by his actions. — Weiss
How did Udoka meet?
All parties declined to go into the exact details that led to Udoka’s suspension by the Celtics, but Udoka took full responsibility and ownership for his actions. He participated in sensitivity and leadership training as well as counseling for himself and his son, to improve their relationship in the future. Looking ahead, Udoka seemed confident, honest and open about Houston’s young roster and what to expect.
Udoka said youth will not be an excuse and although there will be a learning curve along the way, he walks into a locker room and tries to change the culture. The Rockets have fallen victim to bad habits and a losing mentality over the past three years and it will take some time to correct and reverse some of those mistakes. — It’s here
What impact could it have on the roster?
The Rockets will have approximately $60 million in cap space and plan to add quality free agents to bolster that roster. Udoka seemed excited about the prospect of adding shooting, playing and big men to the group. He went into great detail about what drew him to this team, praising players like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. who sat in the front row. Judging by the work he’s done with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, I expect him to get to work with Houston’s young backcourt.
Udoka has built his success on defense, which is arguably Houston’s biggest problem. That might take the longest to resolve, unless the Rockets can turn that team’s roster into free agency. But from what he said about culture, responsibility and tenacity, young players should know what they are about to get into from this moment on. — It’s here
What else did they say
Udoka, 45, spoke about rebuilding Houston: “Youth is no excuse. Understanding that we are going to take pieces with the young people, but that is no excuse,” he said, adding that filming is paramount and that they will want to deal with this issue in free will.
Addressing his Boston exit, Udoka said: “My role was to take charge and be accountable for me. (The Celtics) had a choice to make a decision and they went that route. My thing was to recognize it, take responsibility and serve the suspension. I had to own it, honestly.
“This past year, I’ve been honest and candid about what I’ve been through. How your actions have consequences. I can be a great example of that,” Udoka added. “But at the same time, how can you face this adversity and come out the other side.”
General manager Rafael Stone said that as part of the hiring process, the team “exercised due diligence, not only on (Udoka) but on each candidate. … We made sure that they were appropriate hiring during the process.
Udoka also said that “a lot of things were very appealing about this job” and that “ceiling space is a big thing”. He added that part of his assistant search process will be to interview current staff in Houston.
(Photo: Kyle Terada/USA Today)