As the Portland Trail Blazers continue their interview process with potential candidates to fill their head coaching vacancy, the Boston Celtics are reportedly the first team this offseason to fill their opening.
Brooklyn Nets assistant coach and former Trail Blazers forward Ime Udoka is reportedly finalizing a deal with the Celtics to become their new head coach.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Udoka had separated himself during the search process due to his experience as an assistant in the league as well as all the support from Celtics players who had played under him at the 2019 World Cup.
Udoka has several ties to Rip City.
As a Jefferson High School grad and growing up in Portland, Udoka went on to play college basketball at San Francisco before transferring to Portland State. Plus, many Trail Blazers fans remember his time playing for Portland during LaMarcus Aldridge’s rookie season back in 2006.
The 43-year-old was among a group of assistant coaches, including Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, who received a second interview with Boston over the last week.
Billups has also received a second interview with the Blazers.
Udoka played seven seasons in the league, averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds over his career before retiring in 2012.
That same year he joined Gregg Popovich’s staff as an assistant coach. Two years later in that assistant role he helped guide the Spurs to a championship.
It was in 2019 when Udoka was hired as a lead assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers before his latest move to coach under Steve Nash with Brooklyn this past season.
Now Udoka will look to lead Boston back atop the Eastern Conference as he replaces Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.