The Houston Rockets have decided on their next head coach, as they look to take a positive step forward after three straight dismal, tanking seasons. Houston has reportedly landed on former Celtics coach Ime Udoka, who was suspended for the year and ultimately fired by the Celtics for an inappropriate relationship with a staff member.
ESPN Sources: Ime Udoka has agreed to a deal to become the next Houston Rockets coach. pic.twitter.com/xhcDRDfnNJ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 24, 2023
The Houston Rockets are hiring Ime Udoka as their new head coach, sources tell me and @KellyIko.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 24, 2023
Udoka was expected to take over the Brooklyn Nets job after they fired Steve Nash earlier this year, but Brooklyn chose to move forward with Jacque Vaughn rather than Udoka as they were already dealing with the Kyrie Irving debacle at the time they were also facing heat for trying to hire Udoka after his suspension. While the Rockets reportedly did their “due diligence” on Udoka, there are plenty of questions that remain about the circumstances that led to his ouster in Boston that still have not come to light and we may never get a complete picture of. The hire will certainly raise questions about the off-court issues that led to the Celtics, coming fresh off a Finals run, moving on from Udoka.
From a purely coaching perspective, it’s not hard to see why the Rockets made this move given Udoka’s reputation as a strong defensive coach. The young Rockets could use some structure and discipline on both ends, which was a hallmark of Udoka’s Celtics squad. How he fares in getting this Rockets group to buy in will be rather fascinating to watch given the struggles Houston has had in recent years.