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#pounditWednesday, September 28, 2022

Basketball

Celtics player’s sister goes off on Ime Udoka rumors

Al Horford's sister Anna take a selfie

The Ime Udoka situation has led to several women becoming the targets of unfair speculation, and one Boston Celtics player’s sister chose not to sit quietly after seeing that she was dragged into the mix.

Anna Horford, the younger sister of Celtics big man Al Horford, was one of several women connected to the team who became the subject of rumors on social media after the Udoka news broke. One tweet from a parody account falsely claimed that Udoka’s one-year suspension is the result of him sleeping with Anna. She blasted the account in a tweet of her own.

“I get that this is a troll account, but I’ve been spammed with these messages all day. It’s not funny. I get that you just want clicks, but you’re f—ing with real people who have nothing to do with this. It’s really not okay,” Horford wrote (edited by LBS for profanity).

Anna also seemed to take aim at the Celtics earlier in the day for the way the Udoka story was leaked.

Udoka on Thursday was officially suspended for the entire 2022-23 season. The Celtics did not go into specifics but said the 45-year-old coach committed multiple violations of team policies. Reports have indicated that Udoka engaged in at least one improper intimate but consensual relationship with another Celtics team employee. A more recent report claimed the woman accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her.

Udoka issued a statement apologizing. Like the team, he did not provide any details.

Anna Horford is not the only woman who had her name put out there by uninformed social media users.

Report: Ime Udoka accused of making unwanted comments to woman

Ime Udoka claps

Nov 15, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka reacts in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A new report has provided more background surrounding the situation involving Ime Udoka.

Udoka on Thursday was suspended for the entire season by the Boston Celtics for multiple violations of team policies.

A report from Shams Charania on Wednesday night said that Udoka had engaged in an improper intimate but consensual relationship with a team employee.

Though the relationship apparently began as consensual, the woman’s feelings on things apparently changed.

Charania reported on Thursday night that the woman “recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her.”

Here is what Charania wrote in his story for The Athletic:

“Some members of the Celtics organization first became aware of the relationship in July, sources said. At that time, team leadership was led to believe by both parties that the relationship was consensual. But sources said that the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments toward her — leading the team to launch a set of internal interviews,” Charania reported.

Based on the report, the woman’s feelings on the relationship — or the way Udoka interacted with her — changed.

The 45-year-old coach has been suspended the entire season. Joe Mazzulla has been named the interim coach.

Udoka led the Celtics to the NBA Finals last season, which was his first year on the job.

Celtics announce major suspension news for Ime Udoka

Ime Udoka looking on

Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka looks on during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics on Thursday night announced the discipline for coach Ime Udoka.

Udoka has been suspended for the entire season for “violations of team policies.” The team is making assistant coach Joe Mazzulla their interim head coach.

Although brief, the announcement contains a few interesting details.

One, the statement says Udoka committed multiple violations of team policies, not a singular violation. That could contribute to the length of the suspension.

Two, the team is not making any promises about bringing Udoka back after the season. Perhaps their mentality is that if the team does well under Mazzulla, they won’t have a reason to bring back Udoka.

Though the team has not shared any information about the reason for the suspension, a report says Udoka had an improper intimate but consensual relationship with a team employee.

Udoka, 45, led the Celtics to the NBA Finals last season, which was his first season on the job.

Odds released for next Phoenix Suns owner

Jeff Bezos holds a microphone

Jeff Bezos, founder of private space company Blue Origin and the Amazon.com, visited the Los Angeles Air Force base, Space and Missile Systems center and spoke to the Commanders and Leaderships of Air Force Space Command at Ft. MacArthur, San Pedro, Calif., Oct 25, 2017. Photo Credit: Van Ha

The Phoenix Suns are set to be sold by owner Robert Sarver at some point in the near future, and one online sportsbook has already placed odds on who might become the team’s next owner.

SportsBetting.ag released odds on Thursday on the next majority owner for the Suns. The list includes many notable names, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, former Disney CEO Rob Iger, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

Here are some of the names on the list, and their odds:
Jeff Bezos 2-1
Bob Iger 3-1
Larry Ellison 4-1
Laurene Powell 7-1
Elon Musk 8-1
Arte Moreno 10-1
Michael Bidwill 10-1
Lukas Walton 12-1
Bill Gates 16-1

Arte Moreno is selling the Los Angeles Angels, so it would be odd to see him switch sports and become an NBA owner right after selling his MLB team. Bidwill is the owner of the Arizona Cardinals.

This is only a preliminary list, and it could just be designed to spark some interesting conversation about the topic. It’s quite possible that someone not even listed in the odds could emerge. Another name to watch could be current Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi, who was vocal about wanting Sarver out.

Enes Kanter celebrates Ime Udoka news

Enes Kanter smiling

Nov 22, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter (11) before the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ime Udoka is facing potentially serious discipline from the Boston Celtics, and there is one person celebrating that fact: Enes Kanter.

Kanter sent a tweet on Thursday morning after learning of the Udoka situation. The Celtics head coach is facing discipline for violating the franchise’s code of conduct with an improper work relationship.

Kanter was pleased to see that.

“No need for revenge. Just sit back and wait. Those who hurt you will eventually screw up themselves and if you’re lucky, God will let you watch. Karma!” Kanter wrote.

Kanter also included a link to a story where Udoka denied that Kanter was being benched by the Celtics last season for speaking out against China.

Kanter went from playing in every game in 2020-2021 with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 24.4 minutes per game, to only playing in 35 games last season and averaging 11.7 minutes per game. Kanter did not play after being traded by the Celtics to the Rockets and then cut.

Ben Simmons makes bold claim about next season

Ben Simmons with a shirt on

Jan 30, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) talks to fans before a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

At the risk of sounding like the boy who cried jump shot, Ben Simmons is putting the league on notice for next season.

Appearing this week on the podcast of former Philadelphia 76ers teammate JJ Redick, the Brooklyn Nets star Simmons was asked if he would shoot threes for the Nets this season.

“Yeah, I need to,” he replied. “I need to just go out there and put some up.”

“F–king shoot 20 threes a game,” Simmons added jokingly. “Kevin [Durant] is wide-open, nope!”

The three-time All-Star Simmons also touches on several other compelling topics during the interview, including his holdout from the 76ers, the dunk against the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs that he infamously passed up, and more. You can watch it in full here.

Though the conversation about shooting threes was a bit lighthearted, Nets fans will still be happy to hear it. By now, Simmons’ refusal to shoot the ball is about as sure of a thing as death, taxes, and Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning. He has only made a total of three-pointers (out of 36 attempts for a success rate of 13.9 percent) throughout his entire NBA career. Brooklyn is even reportedly thinking outside the box for ways to get around Simmons’ shooting deficiencies.

If the 26-year-old Simmons is actually serious letting it fly next season, that would really help the Nets’ cause. But it is also worth noting that Simmons has already talked up his shooting in years past only to be the same Cowardly Lion from deep once the season tips off.

1 outcome has reportedly been ruled out with Celtics’ Ime Udoka situation

Ime Udoka coaching the Celtics

Mar 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka watches from the sideline as they take on the Utah Jazz in the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Ime Udoka’s immediate future with the Boston Celtics remains totally up in the air, but at least one outcome appears to be off the table.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reports Thursday that the Celtics head coach Udoka does not plan to resign from his post. Udoka continues to await sanction though amid his scandal that has rocked the organization.

Udoka, who led Boston to the Finals last season, was revealed this week to have violated Celtics team guidelines by engaging in an improper intimate (but consensual) relationship with a female employee of the team. As a result, Udoka could reportedly be suspended by the Celtics for the entire 2022-23 season. We already know who will likely take over as Boston’s interim coach in that event.

Other details about the Udoka scandal remain scarce, leading to rampant speculation from the public. One female Celtics employee has already had her name cleared though.

Derrick Rose making 1 major physical change for next season

Derrick Rose wearing a jersey

Feb 23, 2020; Portland, Oregon, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose (25) looks on as a teammate shoots free throws during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. The Blazers won 107-104. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

After yet another season that was lost due to injury, Derrick Rose may be ready to rise again.

In a video that was posted by the New York Knicks to social media this week, the former MVP guard Rose revealed that he has made a big physical change heading into the 2022-23 campaign.

“I haven’t felt this healthy in a long time,” he said. “[I’m] back to my rookie [year] weight. [I’m] 195 [pounds] right now. It’s been, what, 13 years since I’ve been that weight. So it’s a blessing.”

Rose, who is about to turn 34, missed all but 26 games for the Knicks last season with an ankle injury. He is entering the final guaranteed year of his deal next season (the Knicks hold a $15.6 million club option for 2023-24).

The NBA’s website officially has Rose listed at 200 pounds, but the 14-year veteran’s weight has fluctuated above that in past seasons. For a player who has had a laundry list of lower-body injuries over the years, trimming down to a healthier weight should only help. The Knicks also still have a surprising level of confidence in him, and it sounds like Rose is getting ready to deliver.

Jazz acquire ex-Dwyane Wade Heat teammate in trade

Dwyane Wade looking on

Feb 22, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat former player Dwyane Wade reacts during the second quarter at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade may now be a minority owner of the Utah Jazz, but he is still a Heat Lifer at heart.

The Jazz agreed to trade forward Bojan Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. In exchange, Utah is receiving 23-year-old guard Saben Lee and 31-year-old big Kelly Olynyk.

Lee, a talented young scorer and distributor, is the more prized get for the rebuilding Jazz. But Olynyk is a noteworthy inclusion as well since he used to play with Wade on the Miami Heat. The two were teammates in Miami for two seasons from 2017 to 2019 (Wade’s final two years in the NBA).

Utah recently brought in another guy with a link to those Wade Heat teams. Now Olynyk (with two years left on his deal) will be joining the reunion too.

Stephen A. Smith pulls race card on Celtics over Ime Udoka situation

Stephen A Smith reports from the sideline

Dec 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith broadcasts before a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen A. Smith is furious with the Boston Celtics over the way they have handled the Ime Udoka situation, and the ESPN personality believes race is a factor in that.

Udoka is expected to be suspended for the entire 2022-23 season. The 45-year-old coach is said to have violated the Celtics’ code of conduct by having a consensual intimate relationship with another team employee. During Thursday morning’s edition of “First Take,” Smith unloaded on the Celtics for allowing the information about Udoka to get out. He pulled the race card while arguing that the public has no right to know about Udoka’s alleged affair.

“I got news for you, America, there’s plenty of white folks in professional sports that are doing their thing. And I say that not complimentary,” Smith said. “I don’t see the information out about them. Why are we talking about this now? We gotta talk about it because it’s the news. It ain’t none of our damn business — unless you fire him. But if you keep him, it’s none of our business. It should have never been put out there by the Celtics organization.”

Smith added that he is not excusing the behavior “especially if it involves married folks and stuff like that,” but he seems to think the Celtics should not have leaked information about the alleged affair if they are planning to keep Udoka around. He feels the situation is “none of the public’s damn business” if it involves two consenting adults.

We still don’t know exactly what it is that Udoka did, but Smith was talking in circles. Was he saying the Celtics should have just fired Udoka without explanation after he led the team to the NBA Finals? Or, without knowing what the alleged conduct was, is Smith saying it should have been ignored? Even he probably doesn’t know.

One thing is for sure — this is not the first time Stephen A. has pulled the race card.