Ime Udoka is taking some of his former Boston Celtics assistants with him to the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets’ new head coach is expected to hire current Celtics assistants Ben Sullivan, Aaron Miles and Mike Mose after the Celtics were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs, according to the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
Sullivan and Miles were both part of Udoka’s original coaching staff in Boston in 2021, while Moser was hired as a player improvement coach last summer. Sullivan in particular goes back a long way with Udoka, as he broke into the NBA as a San Antonio Spurs video intern on the recommendation of then-Spurs assistant Udoka.
The Rockets hired Udoka as head coach last month to replace the laid off Stephen Silas. Udoka, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals last year in his first season with the team, saw his stay in Boston come to an end after being suspended for an entire season for violating the code of conduct of the team. The Celtics have remained mostly mum on the exact reason for the discipline, but it has been reported that Udoka allegedly had a consensual relationship with an employee and made inappropriate remarks towards her.
The Celtics promoted assistant Joe Mazzulla to interim head coach as Udoka sat out the season, then opted to give Mazzulla the permanent gig during a successful regular season. Mazzulla led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals and nearly pulled off one of the great comebacks in NBA history by tying the Heat after falling 3-0, but fell short with a resounding defeat in the seventh game.
Now Mazzulla has a new problem to solve.
The Celtics coaching staff has been gutted
Here’s what Celtics coaches looked like when they reached the NBA Finals under Udoka, and where they are now.
Ime Udoka (Rockets head coach)
Will Hardy (Utah Jazz Head Coach)
Damon Stoudamire (Georgia Tech Head Coach)
Ben Sullivan (Rockets assistant coach)
Joe Mazzulla (Celtics Head Coach)
Aaron Miles (Rockets assistant coach)
Tony Dobbins (Celtics assistant coach)
Of the seven people who helped the Celtics win the Eastern Conference, only two are still in Boston. The Celtics have played with a small coaching staff all season after the departures of Hardy and Stoudamire, and now the team has several vacancies to fill under a head coach who has struggled at times during the playoffs.