Ime Udoka, head coach of the Boston Celtics, is facing a possible suspension after he allegedly had a consensual intimate relationship with a woman on the team's staff, sources confirm to PEOPLE.
The affair between the engaged head coach and the staffer is considered a violation of team guidelines, ESPN, who was first to report the news, said, and updates on the disciplinary action could arrive as soon as Thursday. Udoka has been in a relationship with longtime girlfriend, Fatal Affair actress Nia Long, since they met in 2010. The two share a 10-year-old son, Kez Sunday, and confirmed their engagement in May 2015.
ESPN reports that the team is discussing a possible suspension for Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season, but sources say it is unlikely that his position is permanently in jeopardy. The Celtics are a month away from starting the season with an Oct. 18 home game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Ime Udoka
ESPN Sources: Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is facing possible disciplinary action – including a significant suspension – for an unspecified violation of organizational guidelines. Discussions are ongoing within the Celtics on a final determination. pic.twitter.com/1QZb0k326F
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 22, 2022
Udoka, 45, is a former professional basketball player who has had a successful second career as a coach in the NBA. He spent seven years with head coach Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs, with the team winning a championship in 2014.
Since leaving the team in 2019, Udoka served as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. He joined the Celtics in 2021 as a head coach and led the team to the 2022 NBA Finals in his first year at the helm. This was set to be his second season with the franchise.
During last season's NBA Finals, Boston fell in six games to the Golden State Warriors. But it was a major improvement for the team, which was making its first Finals appearance since 2010.
Long, 51, and Udoka have been engaged for almost a decade. She told Essence in 2020 that they were comfortable not holding a wedding ceremony.
"Love is complicated, let's just start there," Long said. "And then you start a marriage, which I've never been married. And there's a reason for that because I don't know that I need to say 'I do' to prove to you that I love you."
"But also, what does marriage really [mean]… that you own me now and I own you?" she added. "I don't get that part."
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic Nia Long and Ime Udoka
According to the Boston Globe, the couple first met in Boston in February 2010. A mutual friend set them up when they were both in the city; Long was filming a pilot for NBC and Udoka, who was on the Sacramento Kings at the time, was playing against the Boston Celtics.
In 2011, the pair exclusively revealed to PEOPLE that they were expecting their first child together.
"This is the most exciting time in our lives," they told PEOPLE in a statement at the time. "Words can't explain how thrilled we are by the new addition to our family. We feel truly blessed and appreciate all the well wishes and prayers."
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After Udoka and the Celtics secured their trip to the 2022 NBA Finals, Long went viral when she posted a video of her dancing in celebration.
"Yes!!!" Long wrote in the caption of the video, which received nearly 3 million views on Twitter since it was posted in May of last year.