Marcus Smart Says Ime Udoka Possibly Coaching Celtics 'Biggest Rivals' Is a 'Tough Spot for Everybody'

Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart shared his disappointment that Boston's suspended former coach Ime Udoka will likely accept a head coaching position with the Brooklyn Nets.

During an interview after Boston's single-point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smart, 28, said he and the Celtics players were told Udoka's time away from the team "was just a suspension" and that the situation "is a tough spot for everybody" involved, according to The Boston Globe.

On Tuesday, after the Nets parted ways with head coach Steve Nash, Shams Charania of The Athletic and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said that the NBA team was readying to hire Udoka, 45, who was suspended for one year after the organization found that he had engaged in an intimate relationship with a female staffer. The news came as a surprise to Celtics players, Smart said.

"We didn't know he was leaving to go coach somebody else," said Smart, who was under the impression that "they just suspended [Udoka] for the year" and that he'd "be back" coaching the team next season.

BOSTON, MA - March 23: Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics talks with head coach Ime Udoka after beating the Utah Jazz 125-97 at the TD Garden on March 23, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - March 23: Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics talks with head coach Ime Udoka after beating the Utah Jazz 125-97 at the TD Garden on March 23, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Ime Udoka

The current NBA season would have been Udoka's second coaching the Boston team that he led to the NBA Finals in June.

If Udoka and the Brooklyn Nets do work out a deal, it would be very unlikely he would return to the Boston Celtics next season, or at any point.

RELATED: Brooklyn Nets Set to Hire Suspended Celtics Coach Ime Udoka to Open Head Coach Position: Reports

"Now [Udoka]'s possibly going to take a job right down the street from us and be coaching the same guys we were trying to beat to get to where we were last year," Smart added.

Smart said that the NBA community predicted Udoka would "probably never coach again" after the scandal. "And a couple of months later, now he's possibly going to be the coach of one of our biggest rivals?"

Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart

Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

RELATED: Marcus Smart Encouraging Donors to 'Get Out There and Help' After Losing Mom and Brother to Cancer

Smart said the players "obviously thought" that Udoka would return to coach them next season, but clearly, "the team and organization felt a different way."

The possibility that the head coach who led the Celtics to the finals just this year could coach another team in the same conference is "confusing" for him and his teammates. "Obviously, we wish he was here."

Smart continued: "We have no control over that. It definitely sucks. I guess it was deemed that whatever happened was enough for him not to be the coach here, but I guess not enough for him [not] to be a coach anywhere else, obviously."

Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Marcus Smart

RELATED: Celtics Players Learned of Ime Udoka's Suspension on Twitter, Say 'It's Been Hell for Us'

Despite his disappointment over the Udoka situation, Smart told the Globe that he's happy in Boston.

"We have to control what we can, and I love the team here. I love the coaching staff. I love [interim coach] Joe [Mazzulla]."

However, Smart told the Boston outlet that "it really doesn't matter what" the players say to the organization's front office. "We can voice our opinion, but I'm sure it's going to be, 'Yeah, we hear you.' And that's it."

He added: "I'm sure they know how certain people feel. But it is tough because there's only so much that they can say...It just sucks all around."

RELATED VIDEO: Nia Long Speaks Out amid Fiancé Ime Udoka's Alleged Affair, Suspension from Celtics

Smart's comments on Wednesday were not the first time he expressed his frustration with Udoka's situation.

In September, he told reporter Jared Weiss that the coach's scandal had "been hell for" the players. "It happened in a time that we didn't have any time to understand everything before media day...we just found out like you guys did, so we're doing our best to cope."

Smart said that despite the reports, "Nobody died, so we didn't lose anything," he said.

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"I still love Ime as a person and as a coach. It's just something unfortunate that has happened to him. It doesn't take away anything from him as a coach, from how he turned this team around."

The Boston Celtics will next host the Chicago Bulls Friday night at TD Garden.