Sat. Nov 26th, 2022
‘It’s been hell for us’: Celtics’ Marcus Smart speaks about the Ime Udoka scandal for the first time

‘It’s been hell for us’: Celtics’ Marcus Smart speaks about the Ime Udoka scandal for the first time 15

‘It’s been hell for us’: Celtics’ Marcus Smart speaks about the Ime Udoka scandal for the first time 16

‘It’s been hell for us’: Celtics’ Marcus Smart speaks about the Ime Udoka scandal for the first time 17

Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart described the team’s offseason as “hell” and revealed that he and his teammates were largely in limbo when team head coach Ime Udoka investigated a reported affair with a female team member.

“It’s been hell for us,” Smart said on Monday’s media day when asked about the consequences of Udoka’s years of suspension. ‘Just surprised. Nobody knows anything, so we’re just like everyone else. It’s confusing.’

The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year directed no attacks on Udoka, who led Boston to the NBA Finals in his first year with the team last season. But Smart did express his frustration with the team’s conditions heading into the new campaign.

A week ago, the Celtics’ biggest concerns were off-season knee surgeries from teammates Danilo Gallinari and Robert “Time Lord” Williams. But starting with reports of Udoka’s impending suspension and subsequent reporting from The Athletic that the coach made “unwanted” comments to the unidentified woman, triggering the team’s investigation, Boston’s upcoming season appears to be affected before it starts.

“I still love Ime as a person and as a coach,” said Smart.

“I think the hardest part is that it happened so quickly,” he added. “Situations like this unfortunately deprive the players, who have done the work and go out to do their job.”

“It certainly puts your leadership to the test. Not just from me, but from all of us,” said All-Star Jaylen Brown. ‘We will see. Obviously things haven’t gone the way we expected, but that’s life. The best you can do is move on.’

Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart (right) described the team’s offseason as “hell” and revealed that he and his teammates were largely in limbo when the team investigated head coach Ime Udoka (left) over a reported affair with a female team member.

Udoka’s alleged affair has become tabloid fodder, as his longtime fiancé and mother of his son is actress Nia Long, of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame. Long had reportedly moved to Boston in the weeks before the scandal surfaced, only to tell TMZ she had been taken aback by the affair, while asking for privacy during this difficult time.

Udoka’s alleged affair has become tabloid fodder, as his longtime fiancé and mother of his son is actress Nia Long, of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame.

Long had reportedly moved to Boston in the weeks before the scandal surfaced, only to tell TMZ she was taken aback by the affair, while asking for privacy during this difficult time.

The details of the Udoka allegations have not been fully disclosed, but retired NBA forward Matt Barnes promised they are “100 times uglier than any of us thought.”

Barnes has reversed criticism of the Celtics for suspending Udoka last week, he said after learning “all the facts”. On Friday, Barnes explained in a self-shot Instagram video that he had deleted a previous post rejecting the suspension because he had been given more information.

“Without knowing all the facts, I talked about Ime Udoka’s defense, and after I found out the facts after I spoke, I erased what I posted because this Boston situation is deep, it’s messy, it’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought,” Barnes told the camera as he drove his car.

“And that’s why I erased what I said. Things have happened that I can’t condone, that I can’t undo, and it’s not up to me to tell you what happened. If it comes out, it comes out. But that’s why I deleted my message last night, because after I posted it, I got a call from someone who had all the details, and s*** is deep.”

On Monday, without acknowledging that he knows undisclosed details, Smart expressed support for the team’s vocal response to the scandal.

“You want to make sure you have all the facts before you talk about it, but what we do know, it seems the organization has handled it the right way,” Smart told reporters.

Boston Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla answers reporters’ questions

Smart and All-Star teammate Jayson Tatum were both very complimentary to Udoka’s replacement, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla, who has the difficult task of coaching the Eastern Conference champions to the “interim” title.

“We love Joe,” Smart said.

“It’s someone we’ve been comfortable with for the past three or four years,” Tatum agreed. ‘Same person, just now in a different position. But someone we know and who we have a lot of respect for.’

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