ESPN: Ime Udoka Frontrunner for Open Toronto Raptors Head Coaching Job

With the NBA’s Toronto Raptors firing head coach Nick Nurse Friday, former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has emerged as a candidate for the job. Yes, that Ime Udoka.

(Photo: Annette Grant/NBAE via Getty Images)

That’s according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who sent out a tweet stating that Udoka is expected to be seriously considered to take the place of Nurse, who led the Raptors to the championship in 2019.

Reportedly, Udoka has a long relationship with Raptors team president Masai Ujiri. Sources have stated that the former Celtics coach will play a prominent part in the Raptors’ coaching search.

Udoka, who had a son and long engagement with actress Nia Long, was suspended before the 2022-23 season started for violating multiple team rules. He received a lengthy suspension as punishment for allegedly having an intimate, but consensual, relationship with a female Celtics staffer. He was still an employee since the team didn’t terminate him. In February, his time with the team came to an end when the Boston Celtics named interim head coach Joe Mazzulla as, the team’s permanent head coach. 

Udoka officially became a free agent with that hire, and he was highly coveted despite the scandal. After replacing head coach Brad Stevens, who became the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, Udoka became the fifth head coach in the last 25 years to take his team to the NBA Finals in his first season as head coach.The Celtics lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

When the Brooklyn Nets parted ways with head coach Steve Nash early in the 2022-23 season, Udoka instantly became the frontrunner to replace him. But, reportedly, the league discouraged the franchise to hire him. Instead, the Nets went with Jacque Vaughn.