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Ime Udoka may be the Boston Celtic’s new head coach [Video]

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics may have their new coach lined up.

Three weeks after shaking up their front office by promoting coach Brad Stevens to president of basketball operations as Danny Ainge retired, the team is reportedly close to hiring a Brooklyn Nets assistant to be the new coach.

Ime Udoka’s agreement was being finalized, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He said that some Celtics players who worked with Udoka on Team USA came away impressed with him.

John Karalis has been hosting the Locked on Celtics podcast since 2016 and covering the Boston Celtics since 2006, according to his bio, he was a four-year starter and two-year captain at Emerson College in Boston, setting a record for total rebounds that still stands at the school. He is the first Emerson player to ever go pro, signing in Greece in 1996. He also wrote the book “The Boston Celtics All-Time All-Stars: The Best Players at Each Position For the C’s”.

LOCKED ON CELTICS PODCAST FROM JOHN KARALIS

The Boston Celtics are finalizing an agreement to hire Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka as the franchise’s new coach, sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2021

Udoka separated himself quickly in Brad Stevens’ search process, including significant support from Celtics players who were impressed with Udoka after working under him with Team USA in the World’s. https://t.co/87p0Q02tkS

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2021

Stevens was believed to value Udoka’s extensive experience as an assistant with Spurs, Sixers and Nets. Udoka had developed into a top head coaching candidate in this cycle, and seemed destined to get a job. He’s getting one with the Celtics that includes two young All-Stars.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2021

Udoka, 43, played seven seasons in the NBA, with the Lakers, Knicks, Trail Blazers, Spurs and Kings. He spent seven years as an assistant coach with the Spurs, then with the 76ers and finally this year with the Nets, who on Saturday were eliminated from the playoffs in Game 7 of their series with the Bucks.

According to the Nigerian basketball team, Udoka would be the first head coach in the NBA from the country.

It’s another big move from Stevens, who last week traded star Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Al Horford and Moses Brown, with draft picks going either way.

Stevens was the Celtics’ coach for eight years, and said in a statement when he moved to the front office that he would be prioritizing the coaching hire.

“I’m excited to tackle this new role, starting with a wide ranging and comprehensive search for our next head coach,” he said.

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