Former Lakers HC linked to Celtics amid Ime Udoka suspension

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 08: Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 08: Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Even if it’s just for one day, the Los Angeles Lakers can officially pass the title of most chaotic organization in the NBA to the Boston Celtics. Their plan to compete for a championship was thrown completely out of whack after a shocking news break threatened to end coach Ime Udoka’s season.

Udoka is facing a suspension that could be as long as one year due to an inappropriate workplace relationship. The Celtics will likely promote assistant Joe Mazzulla to the HC role if Udoka misses the whole year, but he will do little to replace the gaping hole this decision has left in the foundation of this team.

Not only are the Celtics without one of the best young coaches in the league, but they lost their top assistant in the offseason when Will Hardy became the head coach of the Jazz. They may need to hire one more coach to offset the Udoka loss, and some have linked former Lakers head honcho Frank Vogel to that role.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix postulated that Vogel could end up with the Celtics as a result of the Udoka suspension. Not only is Vogel an experienced pro coach with a championship ring that could help an inexperienced staff, but he has a relationship with former Celtics coach and current executive Brad Stevens.

Former Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel could help replace Ime Udoka.

Mazzulla’s resume doesn’t exactly scream “championship coach.” After one year as an assistant with Boston’s G League team and two years coaching Division II Fairmont State, Mazzulla joined the Celtics in 2019. Is he really ready to coach Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown?

While Vogel should shoulder a significant chunk of the blame for how last year transpired, he can still be a critical asset to this Celtics team without Udoka. For all his faults, he knows how to coach defensive basketball. He also brings a decade of experience in charge of things to the Boston bench.

Udoka was hired because of his defensive tactics, and Boston’s new-look lineup helped protect the rim so effectively that they blazed through the Eastern Conference. Mazzulla will likely be totally overwhelmed by the prospect of coaching this team at 34 years old, so Vogel may have his next gig lined up.

While he may not get another head coaching job for the foreseeable future, Vogel’s resume is strong enough to qualify him for assistant coaching jobs until he decides he wants to retire. He could jump-start that plan by riding into Boston and applying a Band-Aid to this festering wound.